Sonya Bach plays J. S. Bach

Keyboard Concertos, Italian Concerto
Sonya Bach piano, English Chamber Orchestra, [John Mills]
103:02 (2 CDs in a standard jewel case)
BWV971, 1052-56, 1058

These are rather exaggerated performances, recorded on two occasions – March 2014 and February 2015 – in St John’s Smith Square. Sonya Bach is a young Korean pianist who plays a Steinway and is photographed for the cover draped over it.

She is clearly in love with it, and has been playing since the age of two; and also with J. S. Bach, whose contrapuntal writing she had mastered by the age of 10. Her performances are mostly in the vigorous style, with heightened dramatic accents and rather exaggerated dynamics, including some pretty extreme crescendos and diminuendos. The ECO strings play neatly, but neither they nor she are as aware of HPP as – for example – Sebastian Knauer, playing concertos in Bach & Sons 2, with the Zürcher Kammerorchester reviewed above.
If you like your Bach Klavier concerti with this scoring and style, you may be seduced by these sounds, but I’m not very keen on this approach. 2422

David Stancliffe