Sunday, 21 June 2015
Bach - Harpsichord Works - Rousset
This is a terrific recording of Bach's English and French Suites, plus the Klavierbuchlien. Christophe Rousset is a brilliant harpsichordist and he is at his best here.
These are among Bach's finest keyboard works, in my view. They show all his greatness in melody, counterpoint and expression of human emotion and although they are performed somewhat less often than some of Bach's other works I think they are hugely enjoyable and satisfying.
Christophe Rousset plays them excellently. He has the technique to make even the trickiest parts sound quite natural and he has a deep understanding of Bach. That essential pulse is there throughout and he judges rubato and ornamentation perfectly to my ears. His tempi are generally quite brisk and are almost breakneck in some places (try the closing Gigue of the Second English Suite, for example) but he carries it off very well and it never feels rushed or inappropriate. I go back to this set time and again with great pleasure.
If you want a harpsichord version of these works you can't go wrong with this - the playing is superb and the recording is excellent. Wholeheartedly recommended.
(For a different but equally good piano interpretation, I would recommend Angela Hewitt's recordings of the English and French Suites, now included in a fantastic box of all her Bach recordings.)