In my efforts to better apprciate some pieces of music, and those specifically by J.S. Bach, I like to hear arrangements. One of the famous ones is by Busoni, a pianist, of his violin Chaconne from Partita no. 2, BWV 1004. Seeking a new reading, I came across the pianist who likes to go by "Ji" or Ji-Yong. The 2012 release features:
- Fantasia C-moll, BWV 906
- Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, D-moll, BWV 903
- Bach/Busoni Chaconne
Watching Ji perform on YouTube revealed his athletic approach to the music. There's a real clarity to his playing. It's there in Beethoven as well as Bach. The expression he wears is somehow satisfying, letting us know that he feels what he's trying to convey.
The clarity I mention is something most clearly demonstrated in the second track, the opening to BWV 903. No use of pedal, and an equal articulation of a lot of fast notes... and then to use that clarity as a stylstic feature, later leaving it behind by employing the pedal and a softer articulation, I really liked.
Ji is not a Bach specialist. I hope he records more.
The Busoni arrnagement, Ji comments, is a "perfect" piece of music. I get what he's saying. Once you experience it from start to finish, yo feel there's little more to be said. Unlike what I'm used to hearing, however, is such a "closely miked" version of this piece. And even though we can't hear the Steinway filling up an entire concert hall because of it, all the player's strengths are even more palpable and revealed.
This was a great introduction to this young virtuoso pianist. I hope there's more to enjoy from Ji performing Bach in the future.