András Schiff, born in 1953 in Budapest, is nowadays one of the most appreciated and distinguished pianists in the world. Magically, he brings life into pieces, makes them breathing and swinging and keeps up almost forgotten ideals of piano playing.
Thus, he is not only a great pianist, but also a professional whose view is not limited on piano music, but who has wide knowledge of the broad field of macro culture. This enables him to play the piano which always makes sense to his own point of view.
Surely Bach’s French Suites, which he composed during his years at Cöthen (1717–1723), are among the finest inducements to practise that any teacher has ever made to a pupil. In this case Bach wrote them for his young wife, Anna Magdalena. The over-riding impression left by these suites is one of endearing tunefulness. Clavier-Übung II is a later collection of didactic keyboard pieces. It comprises two greatly contrasted works: the Italian Concerto and the Overture in the French Style. These performances admirably demonstrate the thoughtful and persuasive approach that András Schiff adopts when performing Bach.
The Concert Recording is accompanied with some interviews with András Schiff, which enriches and completes the great experience of the concert. During the interview, Schiff sits at the Steinway piano and explains the French Suites which J. S. Bach composed during 1722 and 1725 for Cembalo, but also its closeness to Bach’s Goldberg variations and Orchestra suites. He plays a short passage of a Suite, explains it and plays again, but then he interrupts himself once again. This happens without script but with refreshing spontaneity and directness. Completing this part, you can see András Schiff at the Thomas Church and Bach Museum where he talks about Bach’s years in Leipzig, his musical and personal development.
Bonus: Schiff explains Bach
Picture format DVD: NTSC 16:9
Sounds formats DVD: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Region code: 0
Bonus-Original Language: German
Bonus-Subtitles: English, French
Running time: 168 mins (134 mins Performance + 34 mins Bonus)
“over two hours of unalloyed joy...Schiff combines the secure touch of a performer thoroughly immersed in Bach's style with an effervescent freshness of spirit. Whether it is in the more complex contrapuntal passages, or a long-breathed sustaining line, there is a natural flow to every phrase.”
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