Bach: Fantasias & Fugues

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WORKS: Fantasias & Fugues
PERFORMER: Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord)
Following his well-received recording of Bach’s keyboard Inventions and Sinfonias, Masaaki Suzuki here offers a Bach anthology consisting of both well-known and comparatively seldom heard pieces. The framework is provided by the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor and the Capriccio ‘on the departure/absence of a beloved brother’. The remainder of the programme consists of preludes, fantasias, fugues and another, shorter Capriccio which Bach dedicated to his elder brother Johann Christoph. It’s a vivacious piece which found favour with other recitalists during the Bach anniversary year 2000. Suzuki is an accomplished player with a marked feeling for the bravura element present in some of these pieces. Yet I found this aspect of his technique was inclined to take precedence over expressive possibilities. The Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue and the dashing Fantasia in A minor (BWV 922) come off brilliantly but are nevertheless hard-driven. The latter is a strangely un-Bach-like piece, at least in its middle section. Two of the more developed items are based on themes contained in trio sonatas by Albinoni. These, like much else here, are played with panache and stylistic assurance. Notwithstanding reservations, this is a fine issue. Nicholas Anderson