Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bach - English Suites - Stadtfeld

Rating: 3/5

Not an interpretation for me

I'm afraid Martin Stadtfeld's English Suites didn’t do much for me.  He is plainly a very fine pianist and some of the sound he produces is very beautiful, but it's not my idea of Bach's music.

Stadtfeld has quite a free rhythmic approach to Bach, and therein lies my problem with this disc.  The music does need phrasing and some rubato is important, but there is an essential pulse to all of Bach's work which has to beat through it – especially in suites of dances like these.  This means that although some individual phrases and even passages sound very lovely, as a whole the pieces don’t really hang together for me.

I recognise that this is a personal view and that plenty of people won't agree – and fair enough.  There are other very highly regarded recordings of Bach which I don't like much – including some of Glenn Gould's interpretations.  (There will now be a pause to allow the shock of such sacrilege to wear off slightly.)  These things are a matter of taste, but my taste is much more for Angela Hewitt, Murray Preahia, Richard Egarr and others and I'll be sticking to them.

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