Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:


Keyboard Music
Capriccios: in E major BWV993; in B flat major BWV992;
Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D minor BWV903
Fantasias: in C minor BWV906; in G minor BWV917; in C minor BWV918; in A minor BWV 922
Fantasias & Fugues: in A minor BWV 904; in A minor BWV944
Fugue on a theme of Albinoni BWV950
Prelude in C minor BWV921
Prelude on a theme of Albinoni BWV923
Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV551

Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord)
BIS-CD-1037 (77 minutes)

Suzuki has developed an international reputation as the director of the Bach Collegium Japan, whose recordings of the master's choral works have met with considerable acclaim. Here he appears in solo keyboard repertoire, and his dexterity and talent are paraded in some of Bach's most technically demanding music.

That said, the more lyrical, introspective pieces fare best. In particular the Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother, BWV992, is sensitively done, every nuance of the programmatic structure communicated to the full. And the other, similar pieces such as BWV921, 922 and 950 are captured to excellent affect.

Yet the wider range of the great Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue somehow eludes Suzuki. Or, to be fair, it eludes Suzuki and the engineers. Recording the solo harpsichord is a tricky business, and the over-close and strident nature of the BIS recorded sound does little service to Bach. Tame the fierceness and the music can shine through, although that fierceness to some extent applies to the performances too. This music surely needs a more sensitively atmospheric acoustic than is offered here.

Terry Barfoot

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