Víkingur Ólafsson - Johann Sebastian Bach (24/96 FLAC)
Víkingur Ólafsson – Johann Sebastian Bach (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Víkingur Ólafsson
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 2018
Size: 1.03 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Prelude and Fughetta in G major BWV 902
01. Prelude

02. Chorale Prelude BWV 734 “Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein” (Transcr. by Wilhelm Kempff) *

Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 855 (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No.10)
03. I. Prelude
04. II. Fugue

Organ Sonata No.4 in E minor BWV 528 (Orig. Andante; transcr. by August Stradal)
05. II. Adagio

Prelude and Fugue in D major BWV 850 (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No.5)
06. I. Prelude
07. II. Fugue

08. Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, Chorale Prelude BWV 659 (Transcr. by Ferruccio Busoni)

Prelude & Fugue in C Minor (Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, No. 2), BWV 847
09. I. Prelude
10. II. Fugue

11. Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 (Transcr. by Víkingur Ólafsson)

Aria variata (alla maniera italiana) in A Minor, BWV 989
12. Aria
13. Variation I. Largo
14. Variation II
15. Variation III
16. Variation IV. Allegro
17. Variation V. Un poco allegro
18. Variation VI. Andante
19. Variation VII. Un poco allegro
20. Variation VIII. Allegro
21. Variation IX
22. Variation X
23. Aria da capo

24. Invention No. 12 in A Major, BWV 783
25. Sinfonia No. 12 in A Major, BWV 798

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Suite from the Partita No.3 in E Major for Solo Violin, BWV 1006 (Transcr. by Sergey Rachmaninov)
26. II. Gavotte

Prelude & Fugue, BWV 855a (Transcr. by Alexander Siloti)
27. I. Prelude No. 10 in B Minor

28. Sinfonia No. 15 in B Minor, BWV 801
29. Invention No. 15 in B Minor, BWV 786

Concerto in D Minor, BWV 974
30. I. Andante
31. II. Adagio
32. III. Presto

33. Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ, Chorale Prelude BWV 639 (Transcr. by Ferruccio Busoni)

Fantasia & Fugue in A Minor, BWV 904
34. I. Fantasia
35. II. Fugue

For his new Deutsche Grammophon album, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson explores the wellspring of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard music, delivering experimental, innovative and timeless performances: Víkingur Ólafsson is a musical free spirit with a mission. He first made the classical world sit up and listen in early 2017 with his recording of solo piano works by Philip Glass – a fascinating journey through the time and space of their minimalist structures. Glass is now followed by Bach. Set for release in September, Ólafsson’s second Deutsche Grammophon album, the pithily entitled Bach, contains a mixture of original works and transcriptions, which the pianist has woven together in intriguing style.

“It would all mean nothing without Bach,” says Ólafsson. “If Glass’s music is minimal, then Bach’s is maximal!” Having studied his music intensively, he here casts new light on some of the composer’s many different faces. Excerpts from the Well-Tempered Clavier such as the Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 855 or contrapuntal gems such as the Sinfonia No. 15 in B minor, BWV 801 showcase him as, in Ólafsson’s words, “the master of the short story”, while the larger-scale but playful Aria variata, BWV 989 forms the structural heart of the album. The original works are juxtaposed with colourful contributions from other composers, including Rachmaninov’s arrangement of the Gavotte from the Partita No. 3 for Violin in E major, BWV 1006; Busoni’s transcription of the chorale “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ”; and Ólafsson’s own mesmerising transcription of the first aria from the solo cantata for alto “Widerstehe doch der Sünde”. As his Glass album demonstrated, the pianist is an intelligent and innovative sculptor of sound, an artist who defies conventional categorisation and is redefining classical music. On Bach, the 34-year-old’s lean but immensely expressive playing captivates listeners, his eloquence and the sensuous delight he takes in experimentation holding them spellbound.

The infinitely inspirational power of Bach’s music will be heard again on Ólafsson’s next recording. Scheduled for release on Deutsche Grammophon in late 2018/early 2019, the album will bring together atmospheric reworkings of music by composers such as Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Ben Frost, Peter Gregson and Valgeir Sigurðsson – reimaginings that artfully defragment the creations of Bach. It will also feature a moving and intimate new work Ólafsson has written in memory of his late friend and colleague Jóhann Jóhannsson.

“Everything is there in Johann Sebastian’s music: architectural perfection and profound emotion,” says Ólafsson. In his hands, the universe that is Bach shines with new light.

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