Title - 'Johann Sebastian Bach'
Artist - Víkingur Ólafsson
For those not in the classical know, Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.
He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor.
Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Víkingur Ólafsson is an Icelandic pianist who has performed with orchestras in Europe and America, and has won numerous awards for his playing; including four Performer of the Year awards at the Icelandic Music Awards, and the Icelandic Optimism Prize.
In 2009, Víkingur was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize and he was the soloist in the opening concert of Harpa in Reykjavík, playing Edvard Grieg's A-minor piano concerto with Iceland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Víkingur holds an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon and has just-released a phenomenal new album, dedicated to the late Johann Sebastian Bach.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Prelude & Fughetta in G Major, BWV 902
Prelude and Fughetta in G Major, BWV 902
1. 1. Prelude (3:26)
2. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein, Chorale Prelude BWV 734 (Transcr. Wilhelm Kempff) (1:51)
Prelude & Fugue in E Minor (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 10), BWV 855
3. 1. Prelude (2:03)
4. 2. Fugue (1:17)
Organ Sonata No. 4, BWV 528 (Transcr. by August Stradal)
Organ Sonata No. 4 in E Minor, BWV 528 (Transcr. by August Stradal)
5. 2. Andante (Adagio) (5:27)
Prelude & Fugue in D Major (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 5), BWV 850
6. 1. Prelude (1:03)
7. 2. Fugue (1:46)
8. Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, Chorale Prelude BWV 659 (Transcr. by Ferruccio Busoni) (5:04)
Prelude & Fugue in C Minor (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 2), BWV 847
9. 1. Prelude (1:24)
10. 2. Fugue (1:38)
11. Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 (Transcr. by Víkingur Ólafsson) (4:26)
Aria variata (alla maniera italiana) in A Minor, BWV 989
12. Aria (1:51)
13. Variation I. Largo (1:10)
14. Variation II (0:56)
15. Variation III (0:55)
16. Variation IV. Allegro (0:56)
17. Variation V. Un poco allegro (0:59)
18. Variation VI. Andante (2:06)
19. Variation VII. Un poco allegro (0:47)
20. Variation VIII. Allegro (0:49)
21. Variation IX (1:08)
22. Variation X (1:47)
23. Aria da capo (1:19)
24. Invention No. 12 in A Major, BWV 783 (1:19)
25. Sinfonia No. 12 in A Major, BWV 798 (1:24)
Suite from the Partita No.3 in E Major for Solo Violin, BWV 1006 (Transcr. by Sergey Rachmaninov)
26. 2. Gavotte (2:48)
Prelude & Fugue, BWV 855a (Transcr. by Alexander Siloti)
27. 1. Prelude No. 10 in B Minor (3:00)
28. Sinfonia No. 15 in B Minor, BWV 801 (1:19)
29. Invention No. 15 in B Minor, BWV 786 (1:12)
Concerto in D Minor, BWV 974
30. 1. Andante (2:17)
31. 2. Adagio (4:10)
32. 3. Presto (3:31)
33. Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ, Chorale Prelude BWV 639 (Transcr. by Ferruccio Busoni) (3:08)
Fantasia & Fugue in A Minor, BWV 904
34. 1. Fantasia (3:55)
35. 2. Fugue (5:14)
"Bach's music is the centre of my musical life and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed creating it," Ólafsson recently said on his official Facebook page, and listening to this delightful album, you can see/hear why.
For Ólafsson’s second Deutsche Grammophon album, the pithily entitled Johann Sebastian Bach, contains a mixture of original works and transcriptions which the pianist has woven together in intriguing style.
Having studied his music intensively, he here casts new light on some of the composer’s many different faces. Excerpts from the Well-Tempered Clavier such as the Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 855 or contrapuntal gems such as the Sinfonia No. 15 in B minor, BWV 801 showcase him as, in Ólafsson’s words, “... the master of the short story”, while the larger-scale but playful Aria variata, BWV 989 forms the structural heart of the album.
Simply put, here on Johann Sebastian Bach, the 34-year-old’s lean but immensely expressive playing captivates listeners, his eloquence and the sensuous delight he takes in experimentation holding them spellbound.
Official CD Purchase Link