J.S.Bach, E.Ysaÿe, K.Saariaho, M.Mazzoli, “Bach & Beyond Part 1”,
Partitas Nos.2 & 3, Sonata op.27/2, Nocturne, Dissolve, O My Heart
Jennifer Koh’s Bach’n’Beyond CD, the first of three steps toward a complete Sonatas & Partitas set, works best as a recital. The main ingredients, the E major and D minor Partitas and the Ysaÿe Sonata op.27/2, are part of great, greater musical sets that deserve dedicated recordings most collectors already own. If not: Milstein (DG) or Podger in Bach, Zehetmair or Kavakos in Ysaÿe. That said and skipping Koh’s rationalizing PR-babble (“connection to present world through historical journey…”), it’s a darkly enjoyable 80 minute program with obvious audible links between the Bach, the superbly played Ysaÿe (stunning bagpipe emulation in the Sarabande!), and Missy Mazzoli’s simplistic-lovely-harmless Bach-infused Dissolve, O My Heart. The pivot is Kaija Saariaho’s five-minute breathy-fragile Nocturne.