I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Bach Clavierübung 1 and 2

#alttext# Back in 1994, DHM published a solo reading of Bach by harpsichordist Andreas Staier on a Keith Hill instrument. Bach - who knows precisely why - never published a lot of his music, but this collection, he did. It includes the famous 6 keyboard partitas (or suites) BWV 825-830, which today aren't as popular as his preludes and fugues from WTC. It also includes a lone partita, BWV 831, and the fun Italian Concerto (BWV 971). Staier is among my favorite harpsichordists, and is a precise player. Luckily Keith Hill makes great sounding instruments, and this one is modeled after a German model, contemporary with Bach. While I think the performances here are top-notch, I find some movements are far more affective than others. The bourées from the Partita BWV 831 is a favorite, here played with such speed and technical precision you can only be amazed. After living with this recording over a number of years, I almost feel Staier gets away with playing several movements faster than we might ever here on a piano, simply because the harpsichord is a much more precise-sounding instrument with its sharper (and shorter) attack. My only complaint is that at times the precision has won over any type of tempo variation inspired from breathing or human emotion. Staier is often metronome-precise. Where as he is more apt to take on a less robotic approach with his later recordings on Teldec of Scarlatti, here the precision is both remarkable and at times a detractor. It's not to say he never slows down or is a machine, but the combination of his precision with rhythm and tempo with the crisp attack of the harpsichord is both a curse and a benefit. Comparing this to Pinnock's early reading in the 1980s of the 6 partitas, this one wins simply because of the quality of the recorded sound and the instrument. Bach's partitas for keyboard are gems that you'll likely want to digest in individual doses. Not sure if this album is currently available, but if so, you'll likely be able to scoop it up at a more than fair price. See how my reading compares to Otto's!

Bach's Trio Sonatas

Café Zimmermann, Concertos volume 2