The cover for this nicely packaged disc oversells the contents, which are modest but not without interest. Despite the title Keyboard Instruments of Johann Sebastian Bach's, German historical-keyboard specialist Christine Schornsheim doesn't perform on keyboard instruments that belonged to Bach, or even on instruments claimed to have any direct connection with the composer. Instead, the subject of the album is a trio of old instruments owned by the Bachhaus Eisenach, where the composer was born in 1685. The booklet doesn't give a lot of background about them, but they're beautifully photographed, and each one sounds unusual. The gentle little positive organ used in four short preludes and fugues puts an entirely different light on Bach's organ music from the mighty machines on which his organ music is usually heard. The contrast between the other two instruments is highlighted by means of a seemingly random alternation between a Thuringian harpsichord of 1715 and a spinet from some time later (no date is given). The spinet -- sort of a small harpsichord bearing the same relationship to its larger cousins as a spinet piano -- is the most unusual of the three instruments. It has a quiet, domestic sound underscored by its placement, in the accompanying photo, beside a window of the Bach home. The photos of the three instruments may be worth the purchase price in themselves, and the instruments throw a light on Bach's origins and on the domestic or small-scale church settings in which Bach's music would have been performed away from the urban courts and power centers where he worked. Schornsheim's performances are straightforward, and the disc as a whole, while it may be of most interest to historical-keyboard specialists, does make one want to visit the Bach House in Eisenach.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Prelude and Fughetta, for keyboard in G major, BWV 902 (BC L79)|
|Two-Part Inventions (15), for keyboard, BWV 772-786 (BC L42-56)|
|Prelude and Fughetta, for keyboard in F major, BWV 901 (BC L78)|
|Prelude and Fughetta, for keyboard in D minor (doubtful), BWV 899|
|Three-Part Inventions (Sinfonias) (15), for keyboard BWV 787-801 (BC L42-56)|
|Prelude and Fughetta, for keyboard in E minor, BWV 900 (BC L77)|