Víkingur Ólafsson

J.S. Bach: Works & Reworks

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The New York Times is one of several outlets to have drawn a connection between pianist Víkingur Ólafsson and the late Glenn Gould, and it's viable. Ólafsson does not focus as heavily on Bach as did Gould, and he does not have Gould's highly wrought (or overwrought) way in slow pieces, but in his combination of fleet passagework and attention to unusual detail, he may well remind listeners of the great Canadian. The first CD in this double album, with Ólafsson's readings of mostly short dance and contrapuntal pieces, is available separately, but the full double release may be recommended. Ólafsson includes various Bach transcriptions on CD 1, and the meaning of this becomes clear in the "Reworks," where various electronic musicians are brought on board to collaborate with Ólafsson on treatments of Bach's music. These are of various kinds, with veteran electronic pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto and kraut rocker Hans-Joachim Roedelius on hand along with several Icelandic musicians, and range from specific references to Bach to general evocations of a Bachian mood. Ólafsson seems to suggest that the electronic versions are part of a long tradition of Bach reception that also includes the transcriptions of Siloti and others. It gives the listener something to chew on, and the album may also serve to introduce flavors of contemporary electronics to those whose tastes run more to Bach. A typically bold statement from Ólafsson, from whom the last has definitely not yet been heard.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Prelude and Fughetta in G major BWV 902
1 03:26 Amazon
2 01:51 Amazon
Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 855 (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 10)
3 02:03 Amazon
4 01:16 Amazon
Organ Sonata No. 4 in E minor BWV 528 transcription for piano
5 05:26 Amazon
Prelude and Fugue in D major BWV 850 (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 5)
6 01:02 Amazon
7 01:45 Amazon
8 05:04 Amazon
Prelude and Fugue in C minor BWV 847 (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 2)
9 01:24 Amazon
10 01:38 Amazon
11 04:26 Amazon
Aria variata (alla maniera italiana) in A minor BWV 989
12 01:50 Amazon
13 01:09 Amazon
14 00:55 Amazon
15 00:55 Amazon
16 00:55 Amazon
17 00:59 Amazon
18 02:06 Amazon
19 00:47 Amazon
20 00:49 Amazon
21 01:08 Amazon
22 01:46 Amazon
23 01:18 Amazon
24 01:19 Amazon
25 01:23 Amazon
Partita No. 3 for Violin Solo in E major BWV 1006
26 02:48 Amazon
27 03:00 Amazon
28 01:19 Amazon
29 01:11 Amazon
Harpsichord Concerto in D minor BWV 974
30 02:17 Amazon
31 04:10 Amazon
32 03:31 Amazon
33 03:08 Amazon
Fantasia and Fugue in A minor BWV 904
34 03:54 Amazon
35 05:14 Amazon
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