Bach: Klavierwerke

Rinaldo Alessandrini harpsichord
naïve OP 30581

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For his lockdown solo release, Rinaldo Alessandrini has chosen three groups of pieces, each linked by a key – A minor, D minor and C minor. Each group has the pair of preludes and fugues from Das wohltemperierte Klavier I & II at its heart, and the A minor group has the praeludium  BWV 931, the inventio BWV 784 and sinfonia BWV 799 before them and the fantasia con fuga BWV 904 after. In the D minor group, the praeludium BWV 940, inventio BWV 775 and sinfonia BWV 790 come before them, and the sonata per il cembalo solo BWV 964 comes after, while in the C minor group it is the praeludium BWV 934, inventio BWV 773 and sinfonia BWV 788 coming before them with the fantasia BWV 906 and finally the ricercar à tre voci from the Musicalisches Opfer BWV 1079.

This makes an architecturally elegant yet suitably diverse programme for his recital, recorded in 2019 in the Parco della Musica in Rome on a 1984 copy by Kees Bom of a Dulcken original.

Alessandrini’s playing is lyrical and relaxed, but the sense of shape and direction in his playing gives the music clarity and momentum. The harpsichord is well-recorded and it sounds mellow, as it should, and the counterpoint is well-articulated.

All in all, this is a very satisfying recital and I was particularly glad to hear BWV 964, the sonata for cembalo solo after the sonata for violin in A minor BWV 1003, which I do not recall hearing in this incarnation before. What a lot there is to learn from Bach’s reworking of his own compositions: here his inventive mind and fevered imagination compete to provide fresh insights that are both subtle and intellectually challenging.

David Stancliffe

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