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Andras Schiff

J.S. Bach - Clavichord

Release Date: January 27, 2023

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1 Capriccio sopra la lontananza de il fratro dilettissimo BWV 992 - I. Arioso  
2 II.  
3 III. Adagissimo  
4 IV.  
5 V. Aria di Postiglione. Adagio poco  
6 VI. Fugue all'imitatione della cornetta di postiglione.  
7 Inventions BWV 772-786 - No. 1 in C major  
8 No. 2 in c minor  
9 No. 3 in D major  
10 No. 4 in d minor  
11 No. 5 in E-flat major  
12 No. 6 in E major  
13 No. 7 in e minor  
14 No. 8 in F major  
15 No. 9 in f minor  
16 No. 10 in G major  
17 No. 11 in g minor  
18 No. 12 in A-flat major  
19 No. 13 in a minor  
20 No. 14 in B-flat major  
21 No. 15 in b minor  
22 No. 1 in e minor  
23 Four Duets BWV 802-805 - No. 2 in F major  
24 No. 3 in G major  
25 No. 4 in a minor  
26 Das Musikalische Opfer BWV 1079 - Ricercar a 3  
27 Sinfonias BWV 787-801 - No. 1 in C major  
28 No. 2 in c minor  
29 No. 3 in D major  
30 No. 4 in d minor  
31 No. 5 in E-flat major  
32 No. 6 in E major  
33 No. 7 in e minor  
34 No. 8 in F major  
35 No. 9 in f minor  
36 No. 10 in G major  
37 No. 11 in g minor  
38 No. 12 in A major  
39 No. 13 in a minor  
40 No. 14 in B-flat major  
41 No. 15 in b minor  
42 Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV 903 - I. Fantasia  
43 II. Fugue  
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András Schiff is one of the greatest J.S. Bach interpreters of our time and his dedication to Bach’s oeuvre has been extensively recorded on ECM’s New Series, receiving wide acclaim with his interpretation of the Goldberg Variations (2001) and the Six Partitas (2007), before taking on both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier (2012). The New York Times: “Mr. Schiff is, in Bach, a phenomenon. He doesn’t so much perform it as emit, breathe it.” Here Schiff returns to Bach, this time on clavichord, and presents a special selection, spanning the Capriccio in B-flat major, Bach’s Two- and Three-Part Inventions as well as the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, the Four Duets and Ricercar à 3 from Musikalisches Opfer.  

In a performer’s note for this new double-CD, András Schiff writes: “On first hearing, the sound of the clavichord may seem unfamiliar and strange but, little by little, you will become accustomed to it. Then a new world will open up, like a quiet oasis in our noisy, troubled times. Thanks to the clavichord I now play and hear Bach differently – even on the modern piano: it’s all more detailed.”

Schiff’s infatuation with the clavichord ensues a long line of composers and musicians who held the instrument in equally high regard, praising its transparent nature and delicate dynamics. In his detailed account of the instrument in the liner text, the Belgian clavichord and organ maker Joris Potvlieghe traces the clavichord’s presence and reception back to the 14th century, marking the instrument’s peak in the 16th, though, “the only clavichords built before the end of the 17th century were fretted.”

In his forward to the Inventions and Sinfonias Bach addresses them to those who “love the clavier most of all to acquire a cantabile art of playing”. Several sources, cited in Potvlieghe’s notes, provide strong evidence that with ‘clavier’ Bach referred to the clavichord. Originally conceived as keyboard and composition instruction, in Schiff’s lucid interpretations the pieces inherit a fresh guise that emphasises the converging voices with rare accuracy.  

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