Bach: Keyboard Concertos

Bach: Keyboard Concertos
Vladimir Ashkenazy; Alicia de Larrocha; Olli Mustonen; András Schiff
Catalogue No.

Purists might squirm but purists should think again. As Raymond Tuttle says in his background notes to this unique release, ‘When purists complain about Bach played on the piano, they also need to be reminded that, as these five concertos were not written for the keyboard in the first place, one might argue that any performance at all is inauthentic. Fortunately, most of us don’t have to worry about such matters and can enjoy Bach’s second-hand inspirations which are arguably superior to most composers’ first-hand efforts!’

Besides that, the playing here is pure joy and it allows the listener to delve into three decades of Bach playing, from 1965 (Ashkenazy’s recording of the D minor Concerto, one of his first) to 1994 (Olli Mustonen’s of the D major). Two specially wondrous moments are Andras Schiff’s sheer unmitigated joyfulness for the first movement of the A major and Alicia de Larrocha’s implacable slow movement for the F minor (used famously in the Woody Allen film ‘Hannah and her Sisters’).


Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano
London Symphony Orchestra
David Zinman

Concerto No. 3 in D major, BWV 1054
Olli Mustonen, piano
Deutsche Kamerphilharmonie

Concerto No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055
András Schiff, piano
Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056
Alicia de Larrocha, piano
London Sinfonietta
David Zinman

Concerto No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058
András Schiff, piano
Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Recording information

Recording producers: Erik Smith (No. 1); Paul Myers (No. 3); Michael Haas (Nos. 4, 5, 7)
Recording engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson (No. 1); Stanley Goodall (No. 3, 4, 7); Simon Eadon (No. 5)
Recording locations: Kingsway Hall, London, January 1965 (No. 1); Radio Bremen, June 1993 (No. 3); Konzerthaus, Vienna, January 1989 (Nos. 4, 7); Kingsway Hall, London, September 1979 (No. 5)


‘sparkling, stylish pianism’ Limelight

‘It was a stroke of genius to put together this collection of four great contemporary pianists doing a selection of the concertos. Schiff … knows the key to Bach is pitching the playing between unmediated simplicity and lyric expressiveness … Mustonen is typically dynamic and Alicia de Larrocha’s interpretation is strongly controlled but obviously heartfelt’ Sydney Star Observer