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JS Bach: Concertos for Solo Harpsichord

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
This Bach release by American harpsichordist Elizabeth Farr is unusual in several respects and will be welcomed by listeners with Bach collections of any size. Start with the harpsichord, built by the iconoclastic maker Keith Hill in rural Manchester, MI. It's modeled on the Dutch Ruckers instruments of the 17th century, but it includes a set of 16-foot strings, and it has a truly mighty sound, beautifully captured at what is identified as Ploger Hall in the same locality. It's not clear what this venue is, but it's vast improvement over Naxos' preferred church sites. The booklet in English only includes a short note from Hill admitting that such a harpsichord would have ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
This Bach release by American harpsichordist Elizabeth Farr is unusual in several respects and will be welcomed by listeners with Bach collections of any size. Start with the harpsichord, built by the iconoclastic maker Keith Hill in rural Manchester, MI. It's modeled on the Dutch Ruckers instruments of the 17th century, but it includes a set of 16-foot strings, and it has a truly mighty sound, beautifully captured at what is identified as Ploger Hall in the same locality. It's not clear what this venue is, but it's vast improvement over Naxos' preferred church sites. The booklet in English only includes a short note from Hill admitting that such a harpsichord would have been rare in Bach's time, but suggesting that it was a luxury item that its "value cannot be overestimated" when it is used where it makes musical sense. That's definitely the case here. These "concertos for solo harpsichord" are transcriptions Bach made for solo keyboard in the early 1710s, of mostly violin concertos by mostly Italian composers. It is not known for certain why Bach made them; he may simply have liked the music and wanted to study it more closely, but Farr's detailed notes also indicate that the transcriptions might have been done at the behest of Bach's patron at the time, the Duke of Weimar. The transcriptions of works by Vivaldi, grouped together on disc 1, are fairly well known; the others are rarer on recordings and might have been inserted among the Vivaldi pieces for variety, matching the sequence in the Bach Werke Verzeichnis. In any order, however, they work beautifully on the harpsichord used here, which can evoke orchestral-solo contrasts in a unique way. The dramatic Vivaldi outer movements, on which Farr takes her time, are especially stirring. Her playing is muscular, yet not without expression, and one possible audience for this release would be fans of the monster harpsichords that accompanied the revival of the instrument on LP in the 1960s who'd like to hear a big harpsichord sound done right. Dip into one of the Vivaldi works and sample, and you may well be hooked.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/17/2009
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313200672
  • Catalog Number: 8572006-07
  • Sales rank: 252,310

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 1 in D major (after Vivaldi Op. 3/9), BWV 972 (BC L189) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:11)
  2. 4–6 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 2 in G major (after Vivaldi Op. 7/2, RV 299), BWV 973 (BC L191) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (7:58)
  3. 7–9 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 4 in G minor (after Vivaldi Op. 4/6, RV 316), BWV 975 (BC L193) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:57)
  4. 10–12 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 5 in C major (after Vivaldi Op. 3/12, RV 265), BWV 976 (BC L188) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (10:58)
  5. 13–15 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 7 in F major (after Vivaldi Op. 3/3, RV 310), BWV 978 (BC L190) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (7:34)
  6. 16–18 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 9 in G major (after Vivaldi Op. 4/1, RV 381), BWV 980 (BC L192) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (9:54)
  7. 19–21 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 6 in C major (after unknown source), BWV 977 (BC L202) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (7:20)
  8. 22–24 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 12 in G minor (after unknown source), BWV 983 (BC L204) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:58)
  9. 25–27 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 15 in G major (after unknown source), BWV 986 (BC L203) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (6:17)
Disc 2
  1. 1–6 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 8 in B minor (after Torelli), BWV 979 (BC L196) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (12:15)
  2. 7–9 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 3 in D minor (after Alessandro Marcello), BWV 974 (BC L194) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:46)
  3. 10–13 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 10 in C minor (after Benedetto Marcello), BWV 981 (BC L195) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:57)
  4. 14–16 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 11 in B flat major (after Duke Johann Ernst Op. 1/1), BWV 982 (BC L200) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:45)
  5. 17–19 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 13 in C major (after Duke Johann Ernst), BWV 984 (BC L197) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (8:29)
  6. 20–23 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 16 in D minor (after Duke Johann Ernst, Op. 1/4), BWV 987 (BC L198) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (7:05)
  7. 24–26 Concerto for solo keyboard No. 14 in G minor (after Georg Philipp Telemann, TWV 51:g21), BWV 985 (BC L201) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (7:30)
  8. 27–28 Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard in A minor, BWV 894 (BC L130) - Johann Sebastian Bach & Elizabeth Farr (12:06)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Elizabeth Farr Primary Artist
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