JS BACH: SIX PARTITAS
The Six Partitas for Keyboard, BWV 825-830
Johann Sebastian Bach
DAVID KOREVAAR, piano
“In this superb recording, Korevaar liberates Bach’s music from the notion of a single authentic text, thus generating a unique spontaneity in his approach to the partitas. Korevaar’s playing is nuanced, marked by lyricism, a beautiful tone, and an unabashed use of the full capabilities of the piano. His embellishments are especially imaginative, offering a creative approach to ornamentation that is fresh and stylistic, breathing new life into these well-known works. The generally relaxed tempos are sensitive and natural, and demonstrate the pianist’s refreshing lack of interest in virtuosity for its own sake; interpretations of No.2 in C minor and No.4 in D major are particularly outstanding. Korevaar’s personal approach, which at first may seem impulsive to some listeners, actually reveals a deeply perceptive understanding of the style of these dances, and highlights the context in which they were composed. An enlightened contribution.”
Vanessa Cornett, Clavier Companion [January/February 2014]
“…serious, with organ-like weight and attention to detail… [Korevaar] can still really sing… His Gigues are quite lively, though. The Steinway sound is grand... I liked the Sarabande: it is serious, spacious and creates the impression of a great cathedral. I got this impression in more than one of Korevaar’s movements, due to his solid and serious approach and to the organ-like sound of the piano… Korevaar’s performance is grand... “
Oleg Ledeniov, MusicWeb International [December 2013]
“In the intelligent booklet-notes accompanying David Korevaar’s recording of Bach’s Partitas, the pianist discusses the music’s dance origins in extensive, well-researched detail. … A generally understated, direct account of the A-minor Partita (No 3) reveals Korevaar at his best, as does No 6, where the pianist displays a high degree of controlled freedom in the Toccata’s easy ebb and flow. The Air is sedate yet gently lilting, and the Sarabande’s ornaments and discreet pedal effects illuminate the music’s harmonic tension. The carefully scaled dynamics and gradations of touch with which Korevaar shapes the Gigue’s contrapuntal layers and embellishments rank high in recorded Bach pianism… strongly individual and authoritative Bach pianism.”
Gramophone [July 2013]
“Korevaar has had a distinguished track record with Bach. I praised his WTC I when it was first released in 1999 and again (even more so) when it was reissued (Jan/Feb 2011); [Beversluis] lauded Korevaar’s singing tone, effortless technique, and tone color… In the new release, there’s very little, if anything, to criticize. Korevaar’s tone is, if anything, better than ever, and the recording engineers and production exquisite. (If I get to record another CD one day, I’ll bring this disc in and say, “The piano should sound just like this!”) The interpretive choices are compelling and often quite fresh; two examples that stand out are the elegant Sarabande in Partita 5 (where he makes more sense out of Bach’s ornaments than any other pianist I’ve heard) and the delicate, tonally controlled gigue from the same work. He embellishes every repeat, and his choices are fascinating; he brings the same kind of freedom to the toccata from Partita 6, which—again—is the best performance of this movement I’ve heard on piano… I’ve donated many Partita recordings on piano to my university library; this one’s staying in my collection.”
Haskins, American Record Guide [July/August 2013]
"[I like] Korevaar’s voicing, which gives each line its due and allows the contrapuntal interplay to be heard clearly."
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare [July/Auguist 2013]
“[Korevaar] says in the booklet notes to this release, “The understanding that the ‘authentic’ text of Bach’s publication is not a final version, but itself represents a kind of written snapshot upon which to base a performance, is central to my approach to this music…respect for the text means understanding the context in which it was written.” I can’t think of a better statement of true historical performance practice out there, one that lives and breathes the spirit of the music and not the academy. Korevaar’s touch is quite elegant in all these suites, each individual line taking on a real personality of its own, and especially noteworthy is the delightful ringing piano tone he gets out of his Steinway D in the major-keyed Partitas, something many artists overlook in Bach, as if he is a tone-color automaton. Nothing could be further from the truth, and Korevaar senses this intuitively. MSR gives him excellent engineering as well, the piano tone warm and clear. You need Gould and Perahia, but I think we need to add Korevaar to the list as well. Warmly recommended!”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [May 2013]
“David Korevaar, that wonderful American pianist who was once a pupil of Earl Wild and now balances a very active performance career with teaching at the University of Colorado, gives us yet another splendid exhibition of technical prowess allied with musicianship in this account of Bach’s six keyboard Partitas. His is a first-rate achievement on a number of levels, beginning with the firmly-centered, sensually beautiful, clear tone that permeates the entire recital. These works, which were originally written for harpsichord, usually sound to good advantage in piano arrangements, but never, to my recollection, better than this… [the] pleasure [of listening] is enhanced even more by the Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence recording by Richard Price.”
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [February 2013]
“Korevaar makes a strong case for the emotional depth that a piano can bring to the partitas without delving too deeply into wholly unacceptable interpretative Romanticism. In fact, Korevaar’s lightness of touch is what prevents the partitas from appearing too dense when heard on piano, and his fascinating way with ornamentation – he really mixes it up, handling different movements in very different ways – makes the set a fascinating listening experience. These are nuanced and emotional recordings that do not, however, swoon. Korevaar does an especially fine job of contrasting the slow Sarabande movements of the Partitas with the faster surrounding movements, with the Sarabande from Partita No. 6 particularly heartfelt. The opening movements of the works – such as the short Fantasia in No. 3 and much longer Ouverture in No. 4 and Toccata in No. 6 – provide strong contrast to the lighter dance movements, and Korevaar adeptly draws out the different moods without overdoing them. The recorded sound is rich and warm, adding to the effectiveness of Korevaar’s interpretations.”
InfoDad.com [March 2013]
In 1731, the 46-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach
published his Opus 1, under the title Clavier Übung (“Keyboard Practice”), “consisting of Preludes, Allemandes, Courantes, Sarabandes, Gigues, Minuets, and other Galanteries”—a collection French-inspired dance movements gathered into six suites that he called “Partitas.” These Partitas are Bach’s masterful summing up of the keyboard suite, a genre that grew from the groupings of dances by key in 17th-century France into a more regular form in the hands of composers like Froberger, Pachelbel, Kuhnau, Dieupart and Buxtehude. Bach brings together musical gestures from these predecessors and from his contemporaries with a compositional virtuosity that makes these works a catalogue of keyboard writing, dance forms, and national styles.
In Bach’s circle, there were a number of marked-up copies of the published score of the Partitas, with ornamentation far beyond the scope of what we as modern performers are accustomed to. Particularly notable are versions of the Sarabande of the First Partita, the opening Grave of the Sinfonia of the Second Partita, and the Sarabande of the Fifth Partita. I see these variants as a liberating guideline for what it is possible to do with this music. The understanding that the “authentic” text of Bach’s publication is not a final version, but itself represents a kind of written snap- shot upon which to base a performance, is central to my approach to this music, just as it was in my recording of the Goldberg Variations. Respect for the text means understanding the context in
which it was set down.
In recording the Partitas, I have sought the freedom of live performance. The recording sessions were an opportunity to produce multiple versions of the individual movements, experimenting with embellishments, pacing, and the subtleties of rhythmic treatment that bring these dance-inspired pieces to life. I wanted the result to feel spontaneous—a snapshot of the moment of performance, rather than the definitive last word.
balances an active career as a soloist and chamber musician with teaching at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is the Peter and Helen Weil Professor of Piano. Korevaar presented his London debut at Wigmore Hall and his German recital debut at the Heidelberg Spring Festival. He has been heard at major venues in New York, including Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall and Merkin Concert Hall. Korevaar has performed across the United States from Boston, New
York and Washington, D.C., to Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Dallas and San Diego. He performs frequently in his home state of Colorado with orchestras, in chamber ensembles and in solo recitals. International performances have included appearances in Australia, Japan, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Europe. He has performed and taught in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan as a cultural envoy under the sponsorship of the United States Department of State.
In addition to his position at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Korevaar teaches and performs at the Music in the Mountains summer festival in Durango, Colorado and at the Music Center Japan. He is a member of the Dallas-based Clavier Trio, currently ensemble-in-residence at the University of Texas at Dallas. David Korevaar’s numerous CD releases range from Bach to the present, including solo releases as well as ensemble collaborations. His online presence includes two websites created in collaboration with Tim Smith of Northern Arizona University concerning J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier [ www2.nau.edu/tas3/wtc.html
] and Goldberg Variations [oregonbachfestival.com/digitalbach/Goldberg/
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
THE SIX PARTITAS FOR KEYBOARD, BWV 825-830
PARTITA NO.1 IN B-FLAT MAJOR, BWV 825
Menuets I and II
PARTITA NO.2 IN C MINOR, BWV 826
PARTITA NO.4 IN D MAJOR, BWV 828
PARTITA NO.3 IN A MINOR, BWV 827
PARTITA NO.5 IN G MAJOR, BWV 829
Tempo di Minuetto
PARTITA NO.6 IN E MINOR, BWV 830
Tempo di Gavotta