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CD Feature/ Diego Fasolis & I Barocchisti: "Bach - Brandenburg Concertos"

img  Tobias

Mozart may sell more mugs with his face printed on them, but Bach has attained a status of a higher order: He is still being cited as one of the most important composers by fans of Classical and Contemporary music alike, his influences reaching as far as hiphop and the pioneering days of electronic music (“Switched on Bach” by Wendy Carlos or Tangerine Dream being some prominent examples). This double-disc release by Diego Fasolis and his powerful ensemble “I Barocchisti”, which celebrates one of the core pieces of his oeuvre, explains why.

For already a casual glimpse at the track list is enough to portray Bach as a master of free form and of morphic inventiveness. While we have become used to clustering the “Brandenburg Concertos” into a single entity, they are in fact six entirely unique works with their own design and vocabulary: Their length ranges from a mere nine minutes to a full twenty and they may contain as few as two movements (Number three), or stretch over ten segments. This can come as no big surprise, as they encompass six years of the composer’s life and fall right into a phase in his life, which saw him bustle with confidence, prestige, a financial security which enabled him to take risks and the full artistic support of his benefactor Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen. And yet, Fasolis is one of the few who refuses to bundle the concertos together like a menu at McDonald’s – each one is given a well-thought over approach and each one is treated as a world of its own. Just compare the maddening “Allegro” of Concerto No. 3 with the measuredly treading movement by the same name of the ensuing No. 4! Or listen to how the Barocchisti condense the melodic lines into solemn layers in the more atmospheric pieces and the slower passages, only to break up the structures again when necessary. This turns their interpretation from the  compulsory and stuffy exercise it so often is with others into a transparent and diversified version full of energy and various moods.

While the entire group dives in headlong to get to the heart of every note, Diego Fasolis is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work as well: In the stunning acme of the fifth concerto’s final minutes, he bombs down the score with a combustible harpsichord solo that has sparks flying and keys approaching point break. Both Mozart and Bach still have these moments of absoluteness, when their music transcends time. But with this kind of interpretation, Bach will always seem just that little bit more visionary and up-to-date. Who cares about those mugs anyway?

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: ARTS Music

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