Bach, English Suites BWV 806, 808, 810, P. Anderszewski
(released on March 10, 2015)
Warner 825646219377 | 66'35"
Bach, English Suite BWV 811 (inter alia), P. Anderszewski (Erato, 2004)
Scores, BWV 806-811
In advance of his recital at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on Saturday night, Anderszewski gave a rare interview to Thierry Hillériteau at his studio in the Rue des Saints-Pères in Paris (Piotr Anderszewski, un marteau du piano, March 27) for Le Figaro, in which he explained some of his (often chimerical) thoughts about the English suites. Bach's polyphony, he said, develops one's hands purely and physically: "there are no longer two, there are three or four hands. Afterward you feel like you can touch objects differently, and your brain feels much the same." In 2011, he took a long hiatus from playing in public, spending time in meditation and reflection. It left him "more permeable," but still obsessed with sound: "to be a musician is to make sense through sound," as he put it. He now allows himself "a certain incoherence," to be "in a world of feelings where strict logic is not the most important thing."
This is one way of describing what beguiles my ear in Anderszewski's way with these English suites. The set is distinguished by Bach's decision to begin each of the suites with a prelude, and each one has a different character, not identified with a word in the score but not difficult to guess for a musician. Anderszewski has an approach for each on this disc that makes sense: a multiform fantasia or intonation, with the feel of improvisation in the A major prelude; a Vivaldi-like concerto of ritornello and solo episodes for the G minor; a virtuoso fugue for the E minor, which might make a fine encore for a performance of the Well-Tempered Clavier. As noted of his Shriver Hall performance, Anderszewski is also becoming more adventurous with his ornamentation, which only adds to the diverting qualities of this recording.