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7.5.06

Dip Your Ears, No. 58 (Tharaud's Bach)

It turns out that I had reviewed this disc before. (Dip Your Ears, No. 41). Let the impetus to - unwittingly - review it a second time be part of the testimony just how much this gem fascinates. -jfl]

available at Amazon
J.S.Bach, Concertos italiens,
Alexandre Tharaud
HMU 901871

Much overdue for its own little review, this top choice among my favorite records of 2005, a Bach recital by the young Alexandre Tharaud, is just about as good as such an album gets. Actually, the understatement isn’t necessary: it’s the best Bach recital on disc I have heard or can imagine! It's absolutely impossible to get enough of this disc, no matter how many times played. It might be a slight irony that all but two small works on it are Bach transcriptions from works of other composers (Vivaldi, Marcello Bros., and the Concerto Italien “after an Italian Gusto”), but somehow that doesn’t make these works any less Bach. Gorgeously, impeccably, tastefully played on a Steinway, Alexandre Tharaud charms, impresses from the first notes. Once you have listened to the concluding Andante from the G minor concerto, BWV 979, you will be elated, stunned at the pure beauty. But really, you’ll find that he had you at “Sicilienne,” the opening piece that unfailingly draws you into this disc. The Concerto Italien is the centerpiece – played with freshness and a firm touch: a delight, but the D minor (after A. Marcello, BWV 974), C minor (after B. Marcello, BWV 981), G minor, and G major (after Vivaldi, BWV 975 & 973) surprise with how much they are the more famous concerto’s equal. With artistry, repertoire, and programming in such harmonious perfection, this recording must be in any music lover’s collection if it isn’t already.

The recording is also part of the Forbes How To Build A Top Quality Classical Music Library For $100 list.

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