One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Founding Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

/


Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)


Gloria Dei Cantores
All Night Vigil


Whispering Mozart


absolutely essential release


The best recording I will hear all year


Long awaited recordings


Absolutely enthralling


Left me longing for more


A superb 90th birthday recording


A top recommendation.


Superb advocacy


Tchaikovsky Sibelius

 


Complete ballet


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV903 (?1717-23) [12:09]
Aria variata “alla maniera italiana” in A minor, BWV989 (c. 1709) [14:18]
Fantasia in C minor, BWV906 (?c. 1738) [5:02]
Concerto in the Italian Style, BWV971 (1735) 13:06]
Overture after the French Manner in B minor, BWV831 (1735) [27:00]
Steven Devine (harpsichord)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, September 23-25, 2013
CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0802 [71:58]

This is a fabulous recording of a strong, clear harpsichord, a Colin Booth from 2000 after a single-manual instrument by Johann Christof Fleischer, Hamburg, 1710. A is at 415Hz. Steven Devine is Professor of Early Keyboard at Trinity Laban (London); he has recorded a noted Goldberg Variations for Chandos (CHAN0780: see review). This disc includes some favourites, with Bach’s “other” set of variations (BWV989) and the expansive French Overture, BWV831.

The well-loved Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue begins with a nicely improvised feeling, although Ralph Kirkpatrick’s DG account (remembered fondly from gatefold LP days) holds more drama. Sadly, the Fugue comes across here as rather ploddy.

Devine has redistributed some chords of BWV 989 for this recording: this is the only designated variation work in Bach’s output work aside from the Goldbergs. It begins with a dignified aria. Clarity is of paramount importance: Variation III is a positive delight, while the rapid-fire Variation VIII is wonderfully crisply done.

The short Fantasia in C minor, BWV906 is a tremendous piece (there is also a 48-bar fugal fragment associated with this piece that is not included here). Devine finds lovely trills interspersed between the dramatic descending minor-mode gestures; it acts as a perfect aperitif to the famous Italian Concerto. Sadly, the first movement of the Italian Concerto lacks a bit of life. Some agogic hesitations which threaten to interrupt the rhythmic flow, too. Those difficult-to-bring-off accompaniments to the central panel sound a little ploddy; the right hand has the right idea, with plenty of fantasy. The most successful movement is the bright, lively finale, but this performance’s inability to come fully to life came as something of a surprise.

The Overture after the French Manner begins with what is often referred to as Bach’s longest single keyboard movement (it comes in here at 7:46). The performance here is one of immense dignity; the play of later movements is fully honoured, though (try the Gavottes I & II). There is energy aplenty to the Passepieds, while decorations in the Bourées are a constant source of delight. The piece does not end with a Gigue; that’s actually the penultimate movement, itself dignified as if the upwardly-rising gestures are borrowed from the “Ouverture”. The finale is actually a jaunty “Echo”, deliciously rendered here.

The order of the pieces in the notes and on the disc are different, but, that aside, Devine provides highly informed background to the programme. The performances are not entirely consistent but there is enough here to provide plenty of enjoyment.

Colin Clarke

Previous review: Dominy Clements

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

These prices cannot last!
Compare Toccata discs
Presto £13.50 +£2 pp
Amazon £15.53 post free
MusicWeb £10.50 post free

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger