BACH: Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826; Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827; Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828 – Cedric Tiberghien, piano / Harmonia mundi

by | Nov 11, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

BACH: Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826; Partita No. 3 in A
Minor, BWV 827; Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828 – Cedric Tiberghien,
piano / Harmonia mundi HMC 901869  77:38 *
***:

Aside from their intended, pedagogical purpose to contribute to the
ongoing Ars domestica of the Bach household, the Six Partitas
(1725-1730) were meant to delight the spirits of music lovers, and they
were published in installments for the Leipzig Michaelmas Fair each
year. The Partitas seem to advance Bach in terms of instrumental
conception and intrinsic structure, a liberation from the “mere” dance
forms which dominate his French and English suites. A splendid amalgam
of fantasy and diversity, the pieces take the French overture and six
dances as a starting point, but they soon transcend the medium with
compositional digital audacities which are noble and richly polyphonic
as only Bach at the height of his powers can be.

Scholars have described the C Minor as being more “orchestral” in
dimensions that the first, B-flat Partita, ending with a three-voice
Capriccio both texturally dense and digitally brilliant. Subtlety of
rhythm seems to provide the premise for the A Minor Partita, whose
tenor is more somber than the either the C Minor or the D Major. Its
last three movements, marked Burlesca, Scherzo, and Gigue, emanate a
tight-lipped bravura, stately and touched by melancholy. The D Major is
the grand dame of the set, a grandiose and contrapuntally elegant
structure, whose rapt mysteries were first revealed to me by Jorg
Demus. Our movie-star icon Cedric Tiberghien, a pupil of such
luminaries as Bashkirov, Sebok, and Weissenberg, plays each of the
suites with quicksilver authority, sober and refined. Recorded at the
Teldex Studio, Berlin, August 2004, the piano has presence and resonant
warmth, and the vertical separation captures Bach’s inventive and
passionate lines in all their pristine glory.

–Gary Lemco

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