Admirers of Luciano Berio's Sequenzas have long wished for an affordable, high-quality collection of these masterpieces for solo instruments, considered by some to be the core works in the composer's oeuvre. Deutsche Grammophon released Ensemble InterContemporain's fabulous set in 1994, but its relatively high price and incompleteness make it a second choice when compared with the 2006 set on Naxos, which is both reasonably priced and complete, now that Sequenza XIV for cello appears on CD for the first time. Of course, bargaining over cost and completeness is one thing, but artistic quality is another important consideration: how does the Naxos edition fare in its performances and sound quality? While Ensemble InterContemporain's terrific compilation practically guarantees accuracy and authenticity – many of Berio's original musicians were involved in the project – the performances on this triple-disc set are quite comparable and wholly convincing in virtuosic skills, lustrous timbres, and splendid recording quality; only an adept student of these pieces could note any discrepancies, and those would be minor.
Isabelle Faust has gone back to the original manuscript sources to offer us her versions of these iconic masterpieces of the violin repertoire. In Bach s time, music for solo instruments was still little explored territory, and his Sonatas and Partitas immediately established themselves as a benchmark, technically challenging and brimming with creativity.
Classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has become a command performer much in demand on the world concert scene. He is known for his beautiful poetic musical interpretations, and his skill at evoking the atmospheric textures, colors, and moods of the music he plays…
No doubt many of you are wondering whether I should be recording Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas at the age of only 21. Perhaps I should have waited a bit longer? Well, patience has seldom been my strong point, and after all I have already waited a number of years for an opportunity to record these works. During the first six years of study with my teacher Ana Chumachenco, I studied the sonatas and partitas thoroughly, and first performed both cycles in their entirety in the Bach year 2000, during the course of two evenings at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival.
'Testament' is Rachel Barton Pine's very personal homage to the music of J. S. Bach, on which she performs the composer's complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin in the acoustic of her hometown St. Pauls Church in Chicago, where she first heard and fell in love with Bach's music.
From the start of his intermittent side career as a jazz pianist, esteemed conductor and composer Andre Previn has shown more feeling for the form than most classical artists who cross over. Going beyond a recreational involvement in improvised music, he has deepened his playing since skimming stylistic surfaces on his bestselling My Fair Lady album of nearly 50 years ago. Now 78, he gives us what may be his most satisfying jazz recording in Alone: Ballads for Solo Piano. The solo format allows him to reflect his debt to piano masters including Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, and Bud Powell in ways his work with trios and combos hasn't, while showing off his super-refined lyrical touch with its sophisticated sense of color.