Bach: Alio Modo

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Harmonia Mundi's Bach: Alio modo features esteemed period viol consort Fretwork performing keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach as adapted by group leader Richard Boothby. The idea of playing Bach on a viol consort would have been a little retro for the composer, who was a capable violinist himself and regularly led groups that were among the predecessors of modern orchestras. Bach's flowing contrapuntal lines lie well on these instruments, and in terms of getting his counterpoint across, this setting works, although a good organist or harpsichordist is perfectly capable of achieving the same end in this music. Not every listener can stand to listen to a recording ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Harmonia Mundi's Bach: Alio modo features esteemed period viol consort Fretwork performing keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach as adapted by group leader Richard Boothby. The idea of playing Bach on a viol consort would have been a little retro for the composer, who was a capable violinist himself and regularly led groups that were among the predecessors of modern orchestras. Bach's flowing contrapuntal lines lie well on these instruments, and in terms of getting his counterpoint across, this setting works, although a good organist or harpsichordist is perfectly capable of achieving the same end in this music. Not every listener can stand to listen to a recording of a pipe organ at home, as it reminds them of being in church, and others may share actress Joan Crawford's alleged disdain of the harpsichord. Perhaps this is the audience Fretwork is hoping to reach -- indeed, a listener afflicted with such inclinations would be missing out on some of Bach's finest musical utterances. The playing here is fabulous, as smooth as silk and perfectly in tune, although it's odd to hear a viol consort in music that is so "tonal," as much of the standard literature for viol consorts predates the regular establishment of keys, tending toward modality and therefore sounding harmonically thornier. Sometimes the purity of the tonality lends a harmonium-like "wheezing squeezebox" sound to the proceedings, and the lack of vibrato employed by Fretwork seems a little alien to Bach. Nevertheless, as a recording Bach: Alio modo is very easy on the ears; it is like a very still pool with ripples slowly radiating out from the center. And toward the end of the disc, two pieces from "The Musical Offering" are played, and as this openly scored work is well-established among ensembles of string players, we find ourselves nearing a somewhat familiar shore toward the end of the disc. Reviewing a disc such as Bach: Alio modo is potentially a hot potato; one doesn't want to damn it with too faint a praise, as it is a very fine recording. Should the public discover it, then Bach: Alio modo deserves to do well in the marketplace. Hard-core fans of J.S. Bach are probably not going to dig this one; to many of them it will fall somewhere in between the work of Ferruccio Busoni and the Windham Hill compilation The Bach Variations. Look for Fretwork's Bach: Alio modo to become a hot topic over the classical music water coolers of the world; perhaps one should not risk being left out of the conversation.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/8/2005
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • UPC: 093046739522
  • Catalog Number: 907395
  • Sales rank: 137,473

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Pièce d'orgue (Fantasia), for organ in G major, BWV 572 (BC J83) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (5:43)
  2. 2 Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein No. 43), BWV 641 (BC K70) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (1:53)
  3. 3 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 16 in G minor (WTC II/16), BWV 885 (BC L119) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (4:45)
  4. 4 Passacaglia and Fugue, for organ in C minor, BWV 582 (BC J79): Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 a 5 - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (11:15)
  5. 5 Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit (II), chorale prelude for organ (Clavier-Übung III/4), BWV 672 (BC K4) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (0:54)
  6. 6 Christe, aller Welt Trost (I), chorale prelude for organ (Clavier-Übung III/2), BWV 670 (BC K2) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (1:31)
  7. 7 Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist (I), chorale prelude for organ (Clavier-Übung III/3), BWV 671 (BC K3) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (4:41)
  8. 8 Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot (II), chorale prelude for organ (Clavier-Übung III No. 11), BWV 678 (BC K10) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (4:01)
  9. 9 Fughetta super Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot, for organ (Clavier-Übung III/11), BWV 679 (BC K11) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (1:53)
  10. 10 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 22 in B flat minor (WTC I/22), BWV 867 (BC L101) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (5:02)
  11. 11 Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (I), chorale prelude for organ á 6 (Clavier-Übung III/18), BWV 686 (BC K18) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (4:38)
  12. 12 Prelude and Fugue, for organ in E flat major ("St. Anne;" Clavier-Übung III/26), BWV 552 (BC J16): Fugue in E-flat major, "St Anne", BWV 552.2 a 5 (C - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (6:34)
  13. 13 Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit (I), chorale prelude for organ (Achtzehn Choräle No. 18), BWV 668 (BC K91) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (4:30)
  14. 14 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 11 in F major (WTC II/11), BWV 880 (BC L114) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (5:35)
  15. 15 Wir glauben all an einen Gott (I), chorale prelude for organ, BWV 680 (BC K12) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (2:42)
  16. 16 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 4 in C sharp minor (WTC I/4), BWV 849 (BC L83): Fugue IV in D minor (originally, C-sharp), BWV 849 - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (3:27)
  17. 17 The Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer), for keyboard and chamber instruments, BWV 1079: Recercar, BWV 1079 a 6 - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (6:52)
  18. 18 Canon triplex á 6, for 4 unspecified instruments (or keyboard) in G major ("Portrait Canon"), BWV 1076 - Johann Sebastian Bach & Fretwork (1:08)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Fretwork Primary Artist
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