Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Six Keyboard Partitas, BWV825-830

Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Six Keyboard Partitas, BWV825-830

Article excerpt

JS Bach

Six Keyboard Partitas, BWV825-830

Virginia Black pf

CRD [B] [2] CRD35312 (144' * DDD)

Although Virginia Black is a leading harpsichordist, she now goes back to her roots by recording Bach's Six Partitas on a modern concert grand. In essence, she sounds like a seasoned harpsichordist playing the piano, not unlike one who speaks a foreign language clearly and fluently, yet not idiomatically, and with a noticeable accent.

As a result, characteristics of Black's harpsichord technique get lost in translation. For example, her use of finger legato and agogic stresses in the First Partita's Praeludium and Gigue does not tap into the piano's capacity to articulate sustained and detached phrases through dynamics and tone colour. In faster movements featuring busy ambidextrous contrapuntal intricacy, Black tends to focus on the right hand while playing left-hand lines on top of the keys, without comparable firmness or direction, as in the D major Gigue, C minor Rondeau, A minor Fantasia and G major Praeambulum. …

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