Jarrett: Bach - French Suites (2 CD, FLAC)
Jarrett: Bach - French Suites (2 CD, FLAC)

Performer: Keith Jarrett
Composer: J.S. Bach
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Ecm Records
Size: 677 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# French Suite, for keyboard No. 1 in D minor, BWV 812 (BC L19)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Keith Jarrett

# French Suite, for keyboard No. 2 in C minor, BWV 813 (BC L20)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Keith Jarrett

# French Suite, for keyboard No. 3 in B minor, BWV 814 (BC L21)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Keith Jarrett

# French Suite, for keyboard No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 815 (BC L22)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Keith Jarrett

# French Suite, for keyboard No. 5 in G major, BWV 816 (BC L23)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Keith Jarrett

# French Suite, for keyboard No. 6 in E major, BWV 817 (BC L24)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Keith Jarrett

Listen for yourself to hear the brilliance

Jarrett plays brilliantly.

Please listen to this performance for yourself; the criticisms of other reviewers on this page seem unfair to me. The accusation that Jarrett has a poor touch on the harpsichord is particularly puzzling; like his other harpsichord recordings, this one is splendid.

There are three problems which face us. The first is the harpsichord itself, to many a diabolical instrument which should have become extinct with the invention of the pianoforte. But of course these suites were written for harpsichord and (if that matters to you) piano versions are anachronistic.

Another is that Jarrett plays Bach cleanly and with fewer inflections than is the fashion these days. But that is the way many listeners still love to hear Bach played.

A third lies in Jarrett’s tempi. Glenn Gould got through these suites in one-third of the time Jarrett takes. Whether that enhanced our appreciation, and whether his performances said more about Bach or Gould, I leave to you. But Jarrett’s performance (again, if that matters to you) is far closer to Bach’s original intention.

In any case, comparisons are odious. After Jarrett, Gould sounds like an over-wound musical box. After Gould, Jarrett sounds like a tortoise. But the phrasing of each performer is wonderful, and each man’s understanding of Bach is well worth listening to.

Personally, I love Jarrett’s playing; he is one of the most sensitive and lyrical of contemporary pianists, and his long illness has deprived us of what would surely have been a larger body of baroque music recordings. So make your own mind up.

I highly recommend this collection to lovers of Bach, Jarrett and the diabolical harpsichord.

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