Bach The French Suites

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ALBUM TITLE: Bach The French Suites
WORKS: French Suites, BWV 812-817; Toccata in E minor, BWV 914; partita in C minor, BWV 826
PERFORMER: Andrea Bacchetti (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 88691965102


It is good to see that Andrea Bacchetti is now recording for one of the big international companies, for his previous discs, dazzling and profound as they have been, were on little-known labels. He has still, so far as I can discover, to make his UK debut, which seems strange, given his outstanding gifts.

On these two discs he plays a concert grand, illustrated in the otherwise uninformative booklet, and tests its resources to the full. That means that Bach’s French Suites – so-called for no good reason – get lavishly expounded, so that one sometimes wonders whether Bacchetti is inflating them beyond what they need or perhaps can stand. The Suites are among Bach’s most simple keyboard pieces, much simpler than the English Suites. They are mainly tuneful right-hand pieces, with simple accompaniments.

Bacchetti decorates the melodies from the word go. Given that everything is repeated, one might expect that he would play them unvarnished first time through, and elaborate on them when repeated. He plays with immense rhythmic vitality, not often quietly, sometimes extremely loudly. Both in the Suites and in the Second Partita he is extroverted, where in his first recording of the Goldberg Variations he seemed to be, most movingly, communing with himself. Still, these are invigorating discs; though not to be played in one go.


Michael Tanner