Masaaki Suzuki / Masato Suzuki / Bach Collegium Japan

Bach: Concertos for Two Harpsichords

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AllMusic Review by

This is an enjoyable, somehow spontaneous recording of several of Bach's works for a pair of harpsichords, with the great Japanese Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki joined by his son Masato. The high spirits of the elder Suzuki here could be chalked up to any combination of several factors. One might be freedom from the rigors of his complete Bach cantata cycle, just recently completed when this album appeared in 2014. Another could be the unusual chance for Suzuki to show his considerable powers as a keyboardist, or again the presence of a family member generating an especially relaxed performance. In any event, although the music-making with the two Suzukis and a quintet of strings from Masaaki Suzuki's Bach Collegium Japan is basically the same precise species as was heard in the cantata recordings, there's a new inventive spirit evident in, among other things, the arrangement for two harpsichords of the Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066, by Masaaki Suzuki himself. The model for the arrangement is the Italian Concerto, BWV 971, a concerto without the strings. Although no such manuscript exists, the possibility that a French suite counterpart to the Italian Concerto is not far-fetched. Suzuki appears to have converted to the one-instrument-per-part philosphy, something that will be a disincentive for many listeners inasmuch as the Italian models for the kind of concerto represented here were demonstrably performed by large groups. But BIS' engineering work at Japan's Saitama Arts Theater is absolutely superlative, and buyers will be glad to have this somewhat personal Bach document from the Japanese master.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Concerto in C minor, BWV 1062
1
1.
3:36
2 5:55
3 4:37
Concerto in C major, BWV 1061
4
1.
7:27
5 4:57
6 6:15
Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066
7 10:03
8 2:25
9 2:44
10 1:18
11 2:42
12 2:14
13 3:01
Concerto in C minor, BWV 1060
14 4:50
15 5:04
16 3:53
blue highlight denotes track pick