A Bach Recital

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LABELS: LIR Classics
ALBUM TITLE: A Bach Recital
WORKS: Six Little Preludes; Italian Concerto; arrangements and transcriptions of Bach by Liszt, Rummel, Hess and Busoni
PERFORMER: Penelope Thwaites (piano)


Best known for her championship of Percy Grainger, Penelope Thwaites here offers an attractive selection of arrangements and original versions of Bach’s keyboard works. Two transcriptions by Liszt frame the recital: the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542 and the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 – works originally conceived for the organ, whose colours, complexity and monumental scale are well suited to Liszt’s Romantic construal. Thwaites responds with expressive, luxuriant playing and an intuitive sense of the music’s architecture. Only in the A minor Prelude is there a slightly lumbering quality.

The expansive majesty of these transcriptions is offset by the intimate sound-world of Bach’s Six Little Preludes and the sparkling Baroque brilliance of his Italian Concerto. Thwaites’s approach to Bach’s originals is refreshingly unfashionable, eschewing period style in favour of a Romantically-inspired, pianistic approach. She exploits the instrument’s natural resonance and colouristic potential, here and throughout the recital: the tone is veiled and velvet in the cherished version of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Myra Hess, sonorous and all-embracing in Walter Rummel’s reinterpretation of Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn. There are moments, too, of sheer serenity – in Mortify Us by Thy Grace (Rummel’s arrangement of Ertödt uns durch dein Güte) and in the Italian Concerto’s Andante which floats luminously in the fine acoustic of Potton Hall in Suffolk.


Kate Bolton