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Piano Music by J.S. Bach and Arvo Pärt

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Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0186
Release Date: 09/30/2018
Number of Discs: 1
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Liner Notes
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SOMM Recordings and former BBC Young Musician Competition prize- winner Cordelia Williams present two sublime voices together for the first time on disc in a poetic and probing coupling of the solo piano music of JS Bach – musical laureate of 17th-century Protestantism – and Arvo Pärt, principal voice of contemporary Holy Minimalism.

Although a quarter of a millennia separates their births – Bach in 1685, Pärt in 1935 – both share a conviction that faith in God, as Williams notes in her introductory essay, “is the foundation of the creation of music”.

This pioneering coupling of the two composers reveals a surprising latticework of connections in their constant, shared striving for economy and essence.

Pärt’s signature chiming ‘tintinnabuli’ style is beautifully evoked in three pieces designed to console and comfort their dedicatees: the tolling, melancholic profundity of Für Alina; the quietly majestic and moving Für Anna Maria and the limpid, liquid invention of Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka.

Composed for his 10-year-old son, Wilhelm Friedemann (himself later a composer of distinction), Bach’s twin sets of 15 Two-part Inventions (BWV 772-86) and 15 Three-part Sinfonias (BWV 787-801) are much more than mere pedagogic primers. Williams finds in them a richness of technical design far beyond their apparent simplicity.

Here, Williams reverts to Bach’s original ordering of the pieces to chart a subtly revealing way through music as intimate as it is illuminating.

The lightness, lyricism and economy of the Praeambulum from the first ‘Little Prelude’ (BWV 924) is something that Pärt, in less stringent mood, might well have produced and would certainly have appreciated.

Cordelia Williams’ all-Schubert debut on SOMM was praised for her “brilliantly fluid technique and unassuming mastery of the piano” (Classic FM), her all-Schumann follow-up hailed by The Sunday Times as “commanding and sensitive”.

On This Recording

  1. Für Anna Maria
  2. 15 Two-part Inventions

  3. No. 1 in C major, BWV 772
  4. 1No. 4 in D minor, BWV 775
  5. No. 7 in E minor, BWV 778
  6. No. 8 in F major, BWV 779
  7. No. 10 in G major, BWV 781
  8. No. 13 in A minor, BWV 784
  9. No. 15 in B minor, BWV 786
  10. No. 14 in B flat major, BWV 785
  11. No. 12 in A major, BWV783
  12. No. 11 in G minor, BWV 782
  13. No. 9 in F minor, BWV 780
  14. No. 6 in E major, BWV 777
  15. No. 5 in E flat major, BWV 776
  16. No. 3 in D major, BWV 774
  17. No. 2 in C minor, BWV 773
  18. Für Alina
  19. 15 Three-part Inventions (Sinfonias)

  20. No. 1 in C major, BWV 787
  21. No. 4 in D minor, BWV 790
  22. No. 7 in E minor, BWV 793
  23. No. 8 in F major, BWV 794
  24. No. 10 in G major, BWV 796
  25. No. 13 in A minor, BWV 799
  26. No. 15 in B minor, BWV 801
  27. No. 14 in B flat major, BWV 800
  28. No. 12 in A major, BWV 798
  29. No. 11 in G minor, BWV 797
  30. No. 9 in F minor, BWV 795
  31. No. 6 in E major, BWV 792
  32. No. 5 in E flat major, BWV 791
  33. No. 3 in D major, BWV 789
  34. No. 2 in C minor, BWV 788
  35. Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka
  36. Praeambulum in C major, BWV 924 (from Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach