Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|JS Bach - Art of the Fugue / Anner Bylsma Keller Quartet|
Actors: J.S. Bach, Anner Bylsma, Keller Quartet, Cello Suites
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
The Art of the Fugue is an exceptional performance of one of the most demanding chamber works in history. The Keller Quartet's audio recording of the work is one of the top-sellers in the CD market. Bach's Cello Suites co... more »
Be Warned! This is not Bach alone. It's also György Kurtág!
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/30/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not at all sure who the audience for this DVD is. The front cover (and the information provided by Amazon) does not make at all clear what the DVD contains, and the back cover does not make it much clearer, without close scrutiny, that this is NOT a complete traversal of the Bach 'Art of the Fugue' played by a string quartet, here the estimable Keller Quartet. It includes, rather, only Contrapuncti 1-4, 6, 9, 11 and 18. And interspersed amongst these Bach fugues are several compositions for quartet or string trio by contemporary Hungarian composer György Kurtág who is a fine composer with enormous craft but who writes ultramodern music; the jarring nature of switching back and forth between Bach and Kurtág was simply more than I could tolerate. (For what it's worth, the booklet notes make grand rationalizations about why they interleaved Bach and Kurtág here. I was not convinced.) The Keller have recorded the complete 'Art of Fugue' on CD and if you are truly interested in their version of this masterpiece, I'd suggest you go there; it is available here at Amazon (go to ASIN B000025HN5) but I don't think it is the same performance as on this DVD. One other caution about the DVD, though--even though they are in a fairly reverberant space, they play, as is often the custom these days, with almost no vibrato.
The DVD's second part (roughly 44 minutes compared to the Keller's 71 minutes) contains the distinguished Dutch cellist playing two of Bach's Cello Suites, No. 1 in G and No. 5 in C Minor. Shot in gloriously beautiful surroundings--a room in the St. Bartholomew Church in Dornheim--this is altogether a more enjoyable experience. Bylsma's tone is soft, rounded and beautifully phrased, graced with just enough vibrato to take away the raspy quality so often heard these days in Baroque music performances. A lovely performance of both suites. I only wish the DVD had contained all six of them. Bylsma has recorded all six on audio CD (here at Amazon as ASIN B0000027TV).
Great DVD, but not top performances.
Francisco Yanez Calvino | Santiago de Compostela, GALIZA, Spain. | 11/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is, first of all, a very interesting DVD, from the point of view of the works, the performances and the filming part. Anyway, as know some other better interpretations that's why I don't rate it five stars.
The program puts together two wonderful composers from a very different time, but with some links between them, as it's Kurtág admiration for Bach's works. Apart from this, some aspects of the works are close in the soul of the music between both composers. Of course there could be people who don't like about this couple in a DVD, but you have the possibility of running it with Bach's part or Kurtág's one alone, so you don't need to watch or listening the other, but you have the possibility of discovering a great composer if you want.
Keller Quartet play The Art of the Fugue in a very modern way and very influenced by the late romantic tradition, but not in a really baroque style; I really prefer for this work Musika Antiqua Köln because of the instrument combination they chose and for the way they play.
For Kurtág they chose some pieces they know really very well, as you can listen in their recording of some of these pieces for ECM. I have that CD and I can really say I prefer the versions contained in this DVD. Even son, I prefer, in general terms, the Arditti Quartet recordings (Montaigne) for these works; so this could be a second choice.
And what can I say about the master interpretation of Bach's Suites 1 & 5 by Bylsma? A classical of music making the miracle again, in a very appropriated atmosphere in a church, full of light for Suite 1 and dark, like the music is for Suite 5. Outstanding performances, not so strong and fresh like his early ADD recordings for CBS, and in a very close style to the late DDD recording released by Sony Vivarte. Even, I prefer a bit more those Sony DDD performances, with a younger Bylsma.
The sound is very, very good, great DDD recording; and the film is very atmospheric for all the pieces, specially Bylsma's.
Even I know better performances for every work, it's a very serious and well done DVD I think worth for every music lover, and for many people to discover the music of Kurtág, a really master of the XXth music, truth to me.