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International Record Review - (03//2015)
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"... eminently recommendable disc"

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Reviewer:  Robert Matthew‑Walker

This is an eminently recommendable disc, with one proviso, and one hopes that those who object to Bach on the piano will at least take the trouble to hear Piotr Anderszewski's performances, for it is surely unreasonable to reject these accounts on the basis of the instrument played. Ultimately, the quality or otherwise of Bach performances resides in the re‑creative musicianship of the player concerned, and there is no doubt in my mind that in Anderszewski we encounter a musician whose style is admirable ‑ of such insight that one wishes all clavichordists and harpsichordists possessed his exemplary approach.


With regard to tempos and the slight, but clear and subtle, variations in the matter of repeats and in the realization of ornaments all are given here manifestly as the result of dedicated scholarship and insight ‑ the results are invariably finely proportioned.


The piano is a very good one and the recording quality is beautifully 'placed' within the acoustic, though some may feel the microphone is a shade too close. On the other hand, the clarity, of Anderszewski's part playing is exceptionally well presented. But what is more admirable here is that this artist's variation of tone‑colour is at times (as in the 'Prélude' to the G minor Suite) quite astonishingly expressive ‑ even at such a swift tempo as he adopts.
It is only in passages such as the first movement of the A major that I occasionallv wished for a greater sense of phrasing within the overall subdivisions of the 12/8 flowing line, and I wonder if the initial tempo is not, in Anderszewski's hands, just a shade too fast. His reading of the succeeding 'Allemande' is well‑nigh perfect ‑ in this instance, here is Bach playing of very high quality, as is to be heard also in the following 'Courantes' - especially the second and the recapitulary precedent. In the 'Sarabande' of the A major, Anderszewski's very slow (surely correct) tempo might have been rendered a shade more expressive with a slightly greater use of sustaining pedal (a suggestion offered at a safe distance from musica antiqua diehards), but his contrasts of dynamics in this rnovement especially are simply wonderful and very moving. Thankfully, there is, a long pause before the 'Bourrées' begin, light and elegant as they should be, the sudden intensity of the second catching the unwary listener off guard. The E minor Suite is of similar quality: so consistently impressive, and the artistry of this player is such that I have no doubt Anderszewski has few equals in this repertoire. A very strongly recommendable issue: the remaining suites should follow as soon as possible. In many ways, there is little more to be said, other than the timings shown in Warner's booklet are a total shambles: they often bear no relation to the actual length of each track. Nor are we talking of a few seconds: as one example from almost all, the 'Sarabande' in the G minor Suite is shown as lasting 1’35"; it actually plays for 3’46”. It is disgraceful that these matters were not checked prior to printing. Listeners and radio stations who wish to programme these recordings will find such confusion unpardonable from a major company.




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