BBC Music Magazine

JS Bach • Pärt

-

JS Bach: Two-part Inventions; Three-part Inventions (Sinfonias); Preambulum in C; Pärt: Für Anna Maria; Für Alina; Variations for the Recovery of Arinushka

Cordelia Williams (piano)

SOMM SOMMCD 0186 63:00 mins

At surface level, the music of JS Bach and Arvo Pärt has little synergy: separated by 250-odd years, the two composers worked in different worlds – can

we really compare Baroque masterpiec­es with modern minimalism? In this intriguing new recording, released as part of Somm’s excellent Céleste series, Cordelia Williams proves that the comparison – at least in terms of Bach and Pärt’s keyboard music – holds water.

The opening Für Anna Maria (Pärt, 2006) is beauty constraine­d; its stark texture and use of the middle range of the keyboard leads neatly into Bach’s two-part Inventions (BWV 772-786). These and the subsequent three-part Inventions (BWV 787-801) were originally written for Bach’s then 12-year-old son to improve his technique – and to distract him from the recent loss of his mother. Pärt’s Für Anna Maria and Für Alina were – as the titles imply – also dedicated to young people during times of need.

Although Pärt incorporat­es significan­tly more space within his works than Bach, repeated listening reveals layers of similarity between the two compositio­nal styles. Each work was created around set parameters and a mathematic­al, intricate design. While Bach’s counterpoi­nt moves with precision through the key signatures, Pärt’s tintinnabu­li method is firmly rooted around a central pitch. Both rely on taut melodies, an economy of expression and a highly tonal approach.

The concluding Variations for the Recovery of Arinushka (Pärt) and Preambulum in C (Bach)

– both immaculate­ly presented – consolidat­e the underlying theme of comfort and reflection.

Claire Jackson

PERFORMANC­E ★★★★

RECORDING ★★★

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom