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CHAN 0802
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CHAN 0802

J.S. Bach: Works for Harpsichord

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2014

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2013


Steven Devine



Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk


Rachel Smith


Jonathan Cooper

Rosanna Fish

Record Label



Early Music

Total Time - 71:43
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Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903

  in D minor - in d-Moll - en ré mineur  
1 Fantasia 6:22
2 Fuga 5:48

Aria variata 'alla maniera italiana', BWV 989

  in A minor - in a-Moll - en la mineur  
3 [Aria] - 1:58
4 Variazione I (Largo) - 1:11
5 Variazione II - 1:14
6 Variazione III - 1:14
7 Variazione IV (Allegro) - 1:20
8 Variazione V (Un poco Allegro) - 1:04
9 Variazione VI (Andante) - 1:17
10 Variazione VII (Allegro) - 0:55
11 Variazione VIII (Allegro) - 0:57
12 Variazione IX - 1:05
13 Variazione X 2:17

Fantasia, BWV 906

  in C minor - in c-Moll - en ut mineur  

Concerto nach italianischem Gusto, BWV 971

  in F major - in F-Dur - en fa majeur  
  (Concerto after the Italian Taste)  
  Part 1 of Clavier-Übung II  
15 [ ] 4:17
16 Andante 4:23
17 Presto 4:24

Ouverture nach franzosischer Art, BWV 831

  in B minor - in h-Moll - en si mineur  
  (Overture after the French Manner)  
  Part 2 of Clavier-Übung II  
18 Ouverture 7:46
19 Courante 1:59
20 Gavotte I - Gavotte II - Gavotte I da capo 2:53
21 Passepied I - Passepied II - Passepied I da capo 2:22
22 Sarabande 3:30
23 Bourrée I - Bourrée II - Bourrée I da capo 2:36
24 Gigue 2:35
25 Écho 3:14
  TT 71:58      
 Steven Devine harpsichord
  23-25 September 2013  

 The ‘Italian’ Concerto and ‘French’ Overture included on this album together make up the second part of Bach’s Clavier-Übung, composed, according to Bach himself, ‘for music lovers to refresh their spirits’.  Here Steven Devine’s performances show that these works do far more than simply refresh spirits. The ‘Italian’ Concerto has long been thought a product of Bach’s extensive study of Vivaldi’s concerti. It is full of allusions to the style of the Italian orchestral concerto but the idiomatic keyboard writing, particularly in the exquisitely ornamented slow movement, clearly shows the work’s conception as a virtuoso keyboard piece. The large scale of the ‘French’ Overture’s opening movement is unprecedented in the work of Bach, being his longest single keyboard movement. It is grandiose and imposing in character and stands in contrast to the seven shorter, more delicate dance movements that follow. Alongside these large-scale works are the Aria variata ‘alla maniera italiana, the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903, and the Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906.

 Steven Devine plays a double-manual harpsichord by Colin Booth (2000) after Fleischer (1710), which throughout the programme allows him to bring out Bach’s idiomatic contrasts in dynamics and colour.  

“…Chandos’s pristine recording makes Devine’s playing a pleasure to listen to and one of the best Bach harpsichord discs I’ve heard. This is strongly recommended.”

Jerry Dubins – Fanfare – November/December 2014

 “… The Gvottes, Passpieds and Bourées dance off the page with lively rhythmic swagger and delineation.  Devine’s masterly legato fingering brings uncommon linear clarity and transparency to the Sarabande, and the Echo movement’s pronounced dynamic contrasts sound positively modern in their impact, helped by Chandos’s warm and detailed sound.”

Jes Distler – Gramophone magazine – August 2014

"This recommendable CD of some of Bach’s greatest works for the harpsichord, well played with a touch of flair and an individual interpretative approach that removes much of this music from the museum and brings it into our living-rooms, where it belongs..."

Robert Matthew-Walker - International Record Review - June 2014

                 Performance ****          Recording ****

Paul Riley – BBC Music magazine – July 2014

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