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CHAN 0796
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CHAN 0796

Bach: Transcriptions of Concertos by Vivaldi

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2013

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2012


Sophie Yates



St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol


Gary Cole


Gary Cole

Record Label



Early Music

Total Time - 76:35
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Concerto, BWV 972

  in D major - in D-Dur - en ré majeur  
  after Concerto, L'estro armonico, Op. 3 No. 9, RV 230 (Amsterdam, 1711), by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)  
1 [Allegro] 2:14
2 Larghetto 3:25
3 Allegro 2:17

Concerto, BWV 973

  in G major - in G-Dur - en sol majeur  
  after Concerto a cinque stromenti, Op. 7 No. 8, RV 299 (Amsterdam, 1720) by Antonio Vivaldi  
4 [Allegro assai] 2:36
5 Largo 2:51
6 Allegro 2:28

Concerto, BWV 974

  in D minor - in d-Moll -en ré mineur  
  after Oboe Concerto, from Concerti a cinque (Amsterdam, c. 1717), by Alessandro Marcello (1669-1747)  
7 [Andante] 3:12
8 Adagio 4:06
9 Presto 3:45

Concerto, BWV 975

  in G minor - in g-Moll - en sol mineur  
  after Concerto, La stravaganza, Op. 4 No. 6, RV 316 (Amsterdam, 1716), by Antonio Vivaldi  
10 [Allegro] 3:01
11 Largo 4:06
12 Giga 1:42

Concerto, BWV 976

  in C major - in C-Dur - en ut majeur  
  after Concerto, L'estro armonico, Op. 3 No. 12, RV 265 (Amsterdam, 1711), by Antonio Vivaldi  
13 [Allegro] 3:39
14 Largo 3:46
15 Allegro 3:15

Concerto, BWV 978

  in F major - in F-Dur - en fa majeur  
  after Concerto, L'estro armonico, Op. 3 No. 3, RV 310 (Amsterdam, 1711), by Antonio Vivaldi  
16 Allegro 2:26
17 Largo 2:45
18 Allegro 2:29

Concerto, BWV 980

  in G major - in G-Dur - en sol majeur  
  after Concerto, La stravaganza, Op. 4 No. 1 (Amsterdam, 1716), by Antonio Vivaldi  
19 [Allegro] 3:43
20 Largo 4:11
21 Allegro 2:32

Concerto, BWV 981

  in C minor - in c-Moll - en ut mineur  
  after Concerto a cinque, Op. 1 No. 2 (Venice, 1708), by Benedetto Giacomo Marcello (1686-1739)  
22 Adagio 2:26
23 Vivace 1:57
24 Adagio 2:50
25 Prestissimo 4:53

 This recording brings together all the arrangements for harpsichord by Bach of instrumental concertos by his Italian contemporary Antonio Vivaldi, adding those of one concerto each by the brothers Alessandro and Benedetto Marcello. They are performed by Sophie Yates who has made a series of solo CDs for Chandos, many of which have won international awards. She has been described by Gramophone as ‘hugely talented’ and by BBC Music as playing ‘with exceptional poise’.

The concertos by Vivaldi are taken from three different sets: L’estro armonico, Op. 3, La stravaganza, Op. 4, and the set of twelve Concerti a cinque, Op. 7. These are all works which Vivaldi composed early in his career, when he was still making his reputation. For these concertos, Vivaldi chose a Dutch publisher, which crucially allowed the concertos to become available in Northern Europe. This in turn helped to increase the popularity of the concertos, not to mention the influence of Vivaldi’s style. In the words of The New Grove dictionary, L’estro armonico was ‘the most influential music publication of the first half of the eighteenth century’.

So why did Bach choose to tackle the difficult problem of conveying the quintessential Venetian violin sound on a keyboard instrument? One explanation could be that Bach transcribed these concertos for his own education, later adopting the new ideas in works such as the Concerto in the Italian Style for harpsichord. Or perhaps Bach simply enjoyed these works so much that he wanted to experiment with them. Yet another explanation is provided by the German musicologist Arnold Schering, who wrote: ‘we shall have to seek the purpose of these arrangements in practical music-making and be able to accept that within a short time the new concerto of the Italians became such a favourite that players wanted to be able to play the particularly popular concertos with their own two hands on clavichord or organ. Bach’s arrangements would then be considered to be what they really are: keyboard extractions, “for the soul’s refreshment of music-lovers”.’

 "... I find her [Yates] interpretations both interesting and sensitive, and her playing is, to my ears, faultless. In short, this is a recording that is excellent  ... Highly recommended."

Bertil van Boer - Fanfare - November/December 2013

“… These pieces offer a fascinating glimpse into Bach’s compositional methods… Yates plays with poise and reserve. She is particularly effective in the slow movements.”

Benjamin Katz – American Record Guide – September/October 2013

                         Performance ****      Recording ****
“...Yates gives a lively, fluent account of these showy pieces, always keeping in mind the importance of textural transparency ...”
Nicholas Anderson – BBC Music magazine – October 2013

"The confluence of Bach’s Italian concerto transcriptions, Sophie Yates’s clarity-conscious musicianship, and an Andrew Garlick harpsichord makes for a refreshing and thoroughly recommendable disc... Finally, a word about Garlick’s double manual 1996 harpsichord, which is a copy of a Jean-Claude Goujon instrument, made in Paris in 1748. It sounds really marvellous and lacks for nothing in subtlety. Fine booklet notes (by Yates) and demonstration-class recording quality bring me back to my opening paragraph in resounding fashion." 
Jonathan Woolf - - 26 August 2013

            Music *** (Good)          Sound *** (Good)

 Klaus Oehl – Fono Forum magazine – August 2013

“Sophie Yates offers eight of Bach’s 16 Weimar-period concerto transcriptions in performances that outclass most of the competition...  Yate’s informative, well-written notes complement the stylish sensitivity of her harpsichord artistry, together with Chandos’s vivid, realistic sound. Let’s hope that the remaining eight Bach concerto transcriptions with Yates are on the horizon.”

Jed Distler – Gramophone magazine – August 2013

“... This is a thoroughly invigorating recording. The repertoire combines the open-hearted entertainment factor of Vivaldi with the intellectual strength of Bach, and Yates brings it all vividly  to life through playing of enormous generosity of spirit. Gary Cole’s outstanding recording, made in St George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol is every bit as magnificent as both the music and the playing.”
Marc  Rochester – International Record Review – July/August 2013 

 "... As with all her 18th-centry keyboard recordings, Yates seems to have an orchestra at her command, such is her charismatic musicianship." ****

Andrew Clark - The Financial Times - 18-19 May 2013


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