Die Quellen Des Jungen Bach / Celine Frisch

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DIE QUELLEN DES JUNGEN BACH Céline Frisch (hpd) ALPHA 149 (71:14 )

BACH Toccatas: in e, BWV 914; in g, BWV 915; Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratello diletissimo, BWV 992. BUXTEHUDE Suite in C, BuxWV 226. FROBERGER Toccata in d,. Suite in d. KERLL Suite in F. Passacaglia. REINCKEN Toccata in G

Bach, apart from being one of the greatest composers, performers, and improvisers of his age, was also one of the greatest students in the history of music. He was as precocious a learner as any musician, taking in everything he could from the various Quellen , or sources, available to him in his day, assimilating as many different styles from every major European nation as possible, without ever traveling outside of his own. That a recital of this nature is not only achievable—one that is capable of demonstrating many of these various sources—but engrossing as well, is proof of the diversity of styles that all had their effect on Bach. It is a testament to his abilities as well, that as much as we can hear these influences in his early works, there is still a voice that shines through.

From the opening of the Reincken toccata, Céline Frisch makes it clear that we are in for a well-paced and dramatic reading. The toccata opens in a boisterous manner, full of energy, but free enough to suggest there is still a hint of improvisation. Frisch obviously enjoys the moment, and as a consequence, so do we! The recital continues with the E-Minor Toccata by Bach, highlighting the similarities and differences between the former piece and itself. She continues in her free way with the tempo of the opening, but sets a clear tempo for the fugue that follows, always maintaining a sprightly sense of articulation, lightening the mood when necessary. The Buxtehude and Froberger that follow show yet another influence, mainly those of the suites that preceded Bach’s own. Here Frisch creates a slightly more reverent feeling with slower tempi, perhaps a bit too slow in the allemandes and sarabandes for my taste, but not overly so as to distract from their dance-like nature. The courantes and gigues, on the other hand, have well-chosen tempos, not too fast, but lively and exciting. The Capriccio follows, in what is probably one of the better performances on harpsichord that I’ve come across. The tempi here are equally well chosen, in particular the “Lament” in passacaglia form, which is too often played as slowly as possible. Frisch here maintains a good sense of line and movement. The Kerll pieces that follow come as the biggest delight, with the passacaglia leading that list. It is here Frisch slows off her skills in what is surely a Baroque virtuosic tour de force. Exciting from beginning to end, it makes me wish the piece were twice as long as it is! The recital ends with Bach’s G-Minor Toccata, equally compelling, and ending in the home key of G Major, in which the recital began over an hour before.

This recital is a joy to listen to, from beginning to end, a well-paced, solid reading of some fascinating music that puts Bach fully in perspective. It’s ne of the best harpsichord discs I’ve come across this year, complete with stylish playing, good flair for the dramatic, and an equally interesting program to boot. Highly Recommended.

FANFARE: Scott Noriega

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: ALPHA149

  • UPC: 3760014191497

  • Label: Alpha

  • Composer: Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Adam Reincken, Johann Jacob Froberger, Johann Kaspar Kerll, Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Performer: Céline Frisch