Bach: Andras Schiff (French Suits Nos.1-6/ Overture In B Minor/ Italian Concerto) (Andras Schiff) (EuroArts DVD: 2058138)
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Andras Schiff, born in 1953 in Budapest, is nowadays one of the most appreciated and distinguished pianists in the world. Magically, he brings life into pieces, makes them breathing and swinging and keeps up almost forgotten ideals of piano playing. Thus, he is not only a great pianist, but also a professional whose view is not limited on piano music, but who has wide knowledge of the broad field of macro culture. This enables him to play the piano which always makes sense to his own point of view. Surely Bach's French Suites, which he composed during his years at Cothen (1717-1723), are among the finest inducements to practise that any teacher has ever made to a pupil. In this case Bach wrote them for his young wife, Anna Magdalena. The over-riding impression left by these suites is one of endearing tunefulness. Clavier-ubung II is a later collection of didactic keyboard pieces. It comprises two greatly contrasted works: the Italian Concerto and the Overture in the French Style. These performances admirably demonstrate the thoughtful and persuasive approach that Andras Schiff adopts when performing Bach. The Concert Recording is accompanied with some interviews with Andras Schiff, which enriches and completes the great experience of the concert. During the interview, Schiff sits at the Steinway piano and explains the French Suites which J. S. Bach composed during 1722 and 1725 for Cembalo, but also its closeness to Bach's Goldberg variations and Orchestra suites. He plays a short passage of a Suite, explains it and plays again, but then he interrupts himself once again. This happens without script but with refreshing spontaneity and directness. Completing this part, you can see Andras Schiff at the Thomas Church and Bach Museum where he talks about Bach's years in Leipzig, his musical and personal development.
"Shiff's flexible tempo style that results from his thinking in the bigger picture, is perhaps the most compelling aspect of his pianism. Here someone manages the seemingly impossible synthesis of delicate sparkling single notes and much more widely thought architecture. mA music that seems to reach into infinity, funny as Scarlatti or Haydn distinguished, witty - and uplifting beautiful." Leipziger Volkszeitung