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Partitas BWV 825-830
Bach’s Partitas for Harpsichord from Pinnock

Contents

Recordings
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Recordings

1

J.S. Bach: Six Partitas [K-10]

Partita No. 1 in B Flat major, BWV 825 []
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 []
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827 []
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 []
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 []
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830 []

Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi

1983

2-CD / TT:

1st recording of Partitas BWV 825-830 by G. Leonhardt.


2-1

J.S. Bach: The Six Keyborad Partitas - Volume 1 [K-2]

Partita No. 1 in B Flat major, BWV 825 []
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 []
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827 []
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 []

Sergey Schepkin (Piano)

Ongaku Records

Mar 1995

CD / TT: ~66:00

Recorded at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA, USA.
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2-2

J.S. Bach: The Six Keyborad Partitas - Volume 2 [K-3]

Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 []
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830 []

Sergey Schepkin (Piano)

Ongaku Records

Mar 1995

CD / TT: 73:47

Recorded at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA, USA.
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3

J.S. Bach: Six Partitas, BWV 825-830 (Edition Bachakademie Vol. 115) [K-7]

Partitas BWV 825-830 [19:46, 21:01, 10:02, 34:01, 23:15, 31:31]

Trevor Pinnock (Harpsichord)

Hänssler

Sep 1998 [1-4; Nov 1999 [4-6]

2-CD / TT: 136:01

Recorded at Karlshöhe, Ludwigsburg, Germany.
2nd recording of Partitas BWV 825-830 by T. Pinnock.
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4

Rosalyn Tureck I: Bach (Great Pianists of the 20th Century) [K-4]

Partitas BWV 825-830 []

Rosalyn Tureck (Piano)

Philips (from HMV)

Jun-Jul 1956

2-CD / TT:

Recorded at Abbey Road Studio, London, England.
2nd recording of Partitas No. 1 BWV 825, No. 2 BWV 826, No. 6 BWV 830 by R. Tureck.
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5

Bach: The Six Partitas [K-4]

Partita No. 1 in B Flat major, BWV 825 [17:56]
Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [20:14]
Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827 [18:52]
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 [32:27]
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 [20:47]
Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830 [32:28]

Angela Hewitt (Piano)

Hyperion

Jun 1996; Jan 1997

2-CD / TT: 143:22

Recorded at Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany.
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6

J.S. Bach: Partita No. 1 · English Suite No. 3 · French Suite No. 2 [K-1]

Partita No. 1 in B Flat major, BWV 825 [17:32]

Maria-João Pires (Piano)

Deutsche Grammophon

Jan 1994

CD / TT: 57:43

Recorded at Großer Saal, Hoschschule für Musik, München, Germany.
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7

J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations · Italian Concerto · Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue [K-1]

Partita No. 1 in B Flat major, BWV 825 [18:35]

Maggie Cole (Harpsichord)

Virgin Veritas

Jul 1987 - Apr 1988

2-CD / TT:

Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, London, England.
Review: Goldberg Variations - Cole
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8

Bach: Partitas Nos. 4, 2 and 5 [K-1]

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [20:20]
Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 [32:29]
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 [19:33]

Richard Goode (Piano)

Nonesuch

Mar 1997 [4]; Jun 1998 [2, 5]

CD / TT: 72:22

Recorded at American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, NY, USA.
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9

J.S. Bach: Toccata BWV 911 · Partita BWV 826 · Englische Suite No. 2 BWV 807 [K-2]
Martha Argerich Collection: Chopin, Bach - Solo Works

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [18:56]

Martha Argerich (Piano)

Deutsche Grammophon

Feb 1979

CD / TT: 50:16

Recorded at Studio Lankwitz, Berlin, Germany. 1st recording of Partita No. 2 BWV 826 by M. Argerich.
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10

Horszowski Plays Bach, Mozart, Szyanowski, and Chopi
The Horszowski Collection
[K-6]

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [21:36]

Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)

BBC Music Magazine / BBC Music Classic / Pearl

Jun 1983

CD / TT:62:56
2-CD / TT:

Recorded at Aldeburgh Festival.
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11

Bach Recital [K-2]

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [2:22]
Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 [19:30]

Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)

Arbiter

Jan 1958 [BWV 829]
Aug 1983 [BWV 826]

CD / TT:77:06

Recorded at Chiesa di San Martino, Castagno d'Andrea, Tuscany, Italy.
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12

A Bach Recital [K-17]

Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 [25:07]

Glenn Gould (Piano)

Sony/Odyssey 42527

Dec 11-12, 1962 & Mar 19-20, 1963

CD / TT: 46:54

Recorded at 30th Street Studio, New York City, New York, USA.
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CD (1990): Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

13

J.S. Bach: Partita No. 4; Three-Part Inventions [K-1]

Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 [30:01]

Jeffrey Kahane (Piano)

Nonesuch

Apr 1985

CD / TT: 53:18

Recorded at the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York City, NY, USA.
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Bach’s Partitas for Harpsichord from Pinnock - Part 1

Donald Satz wrote (August 13, 2000):
Bach's Partitas for Harpsichord were published as a set in 1731. Each Partita has six or seven movements, opens with an abstract movement, and follows with contrasting movements, mostly in traditional dance form which is strongly ornamented. An Allemande, Corrente, and Sarabande are common to all six partitas.

The new set on Hänssler from Trevor Pinnock is part of Hänssler's traversal of all Bach compositions. The full sets reviewed are:

[1] Gustav Leonhardt - DHM 77215 (1983).
[2] Sergey Schepkin - Ongaku 108& 109 (1995).
[3] Trevor Pinnock - Hänssler 92115 (1999).
[4] Rosalyn Tureck - Philips 456976 (1956/8).
[5] Angela Hewitt - Hyperion 67191/2 (1996/7).

These additional recordings are also used for comparison:

[6] Maria-João Pires - No. 1 - DG 447894 (1995).
[7] Maggie Cole - No. 1 - Virgin 90712 (1988).
[8] Richard Goode - Nos. 2, 4, and 5 - Nonesuch 79483 (1997/8).
[9] Martha Argerich - No. 2 - DG 423880 (1980).
[10] Mieczyslaw Horszowski - No. 2 - BBC Vol.1, No. 12 (1983).
[11] Mieczyslaw Horszowski - No. 2 & 5 - Arbiter 113 (1983/58).
[12] Glenn Gould - No. 4 - Sony/Odyssey 42527 (1962).
[13] Jeffrey Kahane - No. 4 - Nonesuch 79121 (1985).

Partita No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825 - This Partita begins with a swaying and noble Praeludium in the two-minute range. Each of the versions is highly effective and different. Leonhardt is relatively austere and aristocratic, Pinnock provides a smooth flow with fine accenting, Schepkin is very quick and delicate with excellent momentum, Hewitt displays a strong posture, Pires is elegant/poetic, and Tureck is awash in nobility. Maggie Cole is my favorite; her performance is strongly straight-foward with outstanding accenting.

The Allemande, if played fast, becomes an exciting and even thrilling listening experience. Hewitt and Schepkin are fast, but the excitement they provide comes and goes. Schepkin again displays delicacy, but it does not fit the music. Hewitt slows down on occasion. The other fast versions are Cole and Pires. Cole is very exciting with great forward momentum, but it's the reading of Pires which is special. She just isn't fast, she's like "lightning". The performance is thrilling throughout, but more significant, she provides the most emotional themes of any version and makes them stick; the sense of urgency is stunning. This is a virtuoso performance.

The slower versions come from Pinnock, Leonhardt, and Tureck; each one is at Cole's level. Pinnock gives the most beautiful reading with fine urgency. Leonhardt looks inward with a sense of comfort, and Tureck excellently uses her staccato to weave a musical spell; also, the contrast between the staccato and legato passages is superb.

The Corrente's joy and contentment leaps off the page. The music is also exciting and has an infectious bounce to it. Three versions are not satisfying: Tureck drains the music of excitement, Schepkin's trills are annoying and he loses zest toward the end, and Pires becomes much too soft-focused at times.

Cole is the most exciting. Hewitt excellently contrasts her use of staccato and legato. Leonhardt and the smoother flowing Pinnock deliver incisive readings that are highly rewarding. Any of these four versions should give much pleasure.

Next is a lovely Sarabande possessing great stature, dignity, and tenderness. How the artist handles the ornamentation and accenting is of crucial importance. I can't muster up much enthusiasm for Schepkin, Pires, or Pinnock. Schepkin trivializes the music a little through cute ornamentation and weak accenting; his interpretation is too playful and lacking weight. Pires is quite weak on accenting, and most of the urgency is diluted. Pinnock just doesn't penetrate me; his style of ornamentation leaves me cold. Tureck, Hewitt, Leonhardt, and Cole are excellent. I should note that Tureck is at least two mintues slower than any of the other versions; her reading is very tender and moving.

Menuet I and II follow with some versions also including the Menuet I da capo. Menuet I is bouncy and happy-go-lucky music; II is rather introspective and restrained. Schepkin does very well by providing a fine contrast between I and II. Turec, much more slowly, also delivers the bounce and happy mood of Menuet I and the reflection of II; unlike Schepkin, Tureck plays the da capo although without any significant variation. Pinnock uses a quick tempo to display a happy and smooth flowing Menuet I; his II is attractively delicate, and the da capo has a clavichord quality to it. Hewitt is on target with delicious staccato playing in Menuet I and a fine nobility in II; her da capo is essentially an exact repeat except for less staccato. Pires uses much legato in Menuet I and it works fine, but Menuet II is insufficiently nuanced and sounds like a run-through. Her da capo uses a staccato delivery which contrasts well with the original. Cole is rather one-dimensional/matter-of-fact in both Menuet I and II; the da capo does pick up some zest.

Leonhardt proceeds slowly with exquisite accenting and infectious pacing in Menuet I, and his II is very elegant and calming. Leonhardt's da capo is the only one which provides different ornamentation, and it is most welcome. Overall, I find Leonhardt the best, Cole and Pires at the bottom, and the others stacked in between.

A Gigue concludes Partita No. 1, and this one has hand crossing in every bar with the result that it sounds like melodies are coming at me from every angle. The music has many nuances and a generally joyous expression. Pinnock and Cole insufficiently address the nuances and sound very limited. Tureck's piano too recessed for much enjoyment (could be sound problem).

The remaining versions are excellent. Hewitt and Pires are fast and exciting. Schepkin is highly expressive and superbly captures the music's nuances. Leonhardt is slow paced and best conveys the joy of the piece.

Summary of Partita No. 1:

Of the seven versions, I like Leonhardt the most. He is excellent in every movement, displaying a strong command of the idiom. Although there is a certain asuterity in his interpretation, that quality is combined with a deep sense of comfort and inner joy. His tempos are slow, and recorded sound is excellent.

Maggie Cole has a very strong performance which is only hampered by her lackluster Menuet and Gigue; her sound is not as good as Leonhardt's, but it isn't detrimental. Hewitt is also very strong except in the Allemande. Pires has some super moments but many ordinary ones as well. Tureck's very good and very slow. Schepkin started showing his talents in the last two movements, but the previous ones were problematic. His is the one version which is dispensable.

Trevor Pinnock displays a flow which is quite smooth with little angularity; it reminds me some of Keith Jarrett. The style can work beautifully, or it can tend to make the music seem monochromatic. That particular problem inflicts Pinnock's Menuet and Gigue. Overall, the performance is good, but far from being at Leonhardt's level. Pinnock needs to dig deeper into the music.

 

Continue on Part 2

Partitas BWV 825-830: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019
Comparative Review:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Partitas - P. Anderszewski [McElhearn] | Partitas - P. Anderszewski [Satz] | Partitas - L. Corolan & I. Kipnis | Partitas - F. Kempf | Partitas - E. Feller 1 | Partitas - E. Parmentier | Partitas - A. Rangell | GV & Partitas - K. Richter | Partitas - B. Roberts | Partitas - S. Ross | Partitas - C. Rousset | Partitas - S. Sager | Partitas - C. Sheppard [Morrison] | Partitas - C. Sheppard [Satz] | Partitas - J.L. Steuerman | Partitas - M. Suzuki [McElhearn] | Partitas - M. Suzuki [Henderson] | Partitas - C. Tiberghien | Partitas - R. Troeger | Partitas - B. Verlet | Partitas - K. Weiss | Rübsam - Part 2 | Rübsam - Part 3
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 4 | MD: Partita No. 1 in B flat major BWV 825
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
Partitas - P. Anderszewski | Partitas - V. Dondysh | Partitas - played R. Goode
|
Partitas - R. Kirkpatrick | Partitas - A. Rangell | Partitas - S. Ross | Partitas - A. Schiff | Partitas - M. Suzuki | Partitas - B. Verlet | Partitas - K. Weiss | Partitas - R. Woolley | Partitas - Z. Xiao-Mei

Trevor Pinnock: Short Biography | English Concert | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings: Bach’s Partitas for Harpsichord from Pinnock:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Bach Harpsichord with Pinnock

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Last update: ýDecember 26, 2011 ý14:00:57