JS Bach: Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D minor, BWV903; Toccatas BWV911, 912, 913, 914; Italian Concerto in F, BWV971

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COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: Hevhetia
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach
WORKS: Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D minor, BWV903; Toccatas BWV911, 912, 913, 914; Italian Concerto in F, BWV971
PERFORMER: Miki Skuta (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HV 0012-2-131 (dist. Czech Music Direct)
Slovak pianist Miki Skuta follows up his impressive recent recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with a mixed recital, featuring four of the composer’s seven harpsichord Toccatas as well as two of his best-known keyboard pieces, the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue and the Italian Concerto. As I remarked in my earlier review of the Goldbergs (November 2004) Skuta’s playing is refreshingly free from intrusive mannerism, inapposite idiosyncrasy, and those often all too extravagant expressive luxuries in which some pianists indulge. Skuta puts forward Bach’s musical argument with clarity of thought and lucidity of texture. His is an unsensational, often strikingly reflective approach, susceptible on occasion to accusations of understatement on the one hand or excessive deliberation on the other. Nevertheless, Skuta’s seemingly intuitive responses to Bach’s rhythms, his lucid understanding of complex contrapuntal textures and his sheer sensibility are virtues which I find irresistible. These contrasting features come together wonderfully well in the D major Toccata, but are present throughout the recital lending a distinctive colour to his Bachian approach. Crisply executed ornaments, thoughtful tempos, a commendably restrained use of the sustaining pedal and a lightness of articulation strengthen the considerable communicative allure of this artist. Nicholas Anderson

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