Saturday, February 23, 2013

bach again

On the Presto Classical site I came across the Bach St John Passion conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, coupled with Cantatas for Quinquagesima, and on special offer. Half price. I couldn't resist.

The St John Passion is one of my essentials. One of those things I think makes life better.

Now - this is a slightly unusual St John. It's the 1725 version, so there are a few different arias. And, most notable, the opening chorus and final chorale are different. However - it's Herreweghe; it's a stunning recording; it's Mark Padmore as the evangelist. I have a long trip this week - I'll listen and maybe review then.

I have already been loving the four Cantatas for Quinquagesima, offered as a filler disc. The words are glorious, passionate, sincere; the music beautiful, aching, blissful. "My Jesus, draw me to Thee and I will come running."

Four tiny cantatas, four snap shots of Christian commitment, four bite-sized examples of Bach's genius as a church composer.

And whilst I was in the mood, I found this marvellous recording of Bach Piano Concertos by French pianist, David Fray. And it comes at a bargain price on iTunes.

The freshness of his playing, the joy, the dynamic range, the romantic wonder of it whilst living within 21st Century tempi and orchestral tones - it's a superb CD. I was entranced from the opening notes of the allegro of the D minor Concerto onwards; the adagio had me on the verge of tears. There is something about Bach which simply understands what it is to be human. There is something about Fray's recording which simply understands Bach.

Here's his A Major. Occasionally he is hard to watch, but he's a pure delight to listen to. Enjoy.

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