Bach: Italian Concerto, BWV 971; French Suite No. 2 in C minor, BWV 813; Toccata in E minor, BWV 914

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Orfeo
WORKS: Italian Concerto, BWV 971; French Suite No. 2 in C minor, BWV 813; Toccata in E minor, BWV 914
PERFORMER: Elena Kuschnerova (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: C 547 011 A
Russian pianist Elena Kuschnerova gave this recital on 22 March 2000 as part of the Bach anniversary year celebrations. The live recording was made in Baden-Baden by Südwestrundfunk and includes both applause at the end of each piece and one or two other minor features of audience participation. This is Kuschnerova’s first Bach disc and, in the main, I enjoyed it. Her rhythms are tautly controlled, her musical responses vigorous and without misplaced sentiment, and her articulation unimpaired by either excessive or injudicious use of the sustaining pedal. Readers who enjoy their Bach on the piano and, more especially, perhaps, those who admire the playing of Glenn Gould and Angela Hewitt, will probably respond favourably to Kuschnerova’s approach. Sometimes, I found myself longing for lighter, less forcefully articulated playing than she demonstrates in some of the pieces such as, for example, the Gigue of the C minor French Suite and the E minor Toccata. Hewitt, Gould and Maria João Pires afford greater pleasure in the Suite, Gould and Martha Argerich in the Toccata. But, by and large, this is communicative Bach-playing, often lyrical, as in the Allemande of the E minor Partita and admirably spirited, as you will quickly discover in the performance of the Italian Concerto with which she begins her programme. The piano has been sympathetically recorded. Nicholas Anderson

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