The Inventions and Sinfonias are fairly low profile works of Bach's and, unfortunately, not often performed. However, we should know that Bach did not reserve all his best composition into his larger scale pieces but also ensured that his shortest, least grandiose, pieces were put together with the same dedication and quality. And so it is with the Inventions and Sinfonias. Invention is the term Bach used here to refer to a short Prelude-like piece with two independent voices - one from the left hand one from the right which are generally working fairly independently.
Theatrical chamber music might appear to be a contradiction in terms, but the unlikely idea is fulfilled by these sparkling, highly wrought trio sonatas. For despite their title, that is what they are: most composers of the 18th century may have used the sonata designation for this form, but Alessandro Stradella employed at least several of these works as preludes or overtures to his dramatic and sacred works such as the oratorio Susanna (already recorded on Brilliant Classics, BC94345).
Two of the works on this CD follow the 4 movement Classical era format while the other two show the decided influence of the Italian overture. The Spanish royal court and wealthy noblemen imported a generation of Italian musicians including Domenico Scalatti, Gaetano Brunetti and Luigi Bocherini. These composers inspired the local talent, and this disc highlights the results.
This recording is an important contribution to the understanding of the history of the symphony in Spain and gives us the opportunity to experience this beautiful music. The Córdoba Orchestra has been planning to record these works for several years and the symphonies have been rigorously transcribed.
Simone Dinnerstein has been described as “a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess” by Slate magazine and praised by TIME for her “arresting freshness and subtlety”. The New York-based pianist gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations which she raised the funds to record. Released in 2007, it ranked No. 1 on the US Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many ‘Best of 2007’ lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her follow-up album, The Berlin Concert, also gained the No. 1 spot on the Chart.