J.S.Bach The French Suites
Bach composed three sets of suites for clavier: six English Suites, six French Suites, and six Partitas. The English Suites are the earliest, dating mostly to Bach’s Weimar period. The French Suites, written in Cöthen between 1722 and1725, occupy the middle period, and the Partitas are the latest, written during Bach’s time in Leipzig and published as the first book of the Clavierübung in 1738. The French Suites are smaller, more modest works than the English Suites and the Partitas, more “gallant” and more idiomatic in style and execution—less dramatic and contrapuntal than the English Suites, less ambitious and sophisticated than the Partitas.
"In Feltsman’s hands, Bach’s notes dance off the manuscript page and come to vibrant musical life. Recommended." ClassicToday
"These elegant and charming keyboard works provide ideal vehicles for the consummate artistry of Vladimir Feltsman, the Moscow born musician who has been hailed as one of the supreme Bach keyboard exponents of our time.” Feltsman is certainly in fine fettle here as he breathes new life into a series of stylized dances which were originally penned as a wedding gift for his young and highly musical wife, Anna Magdalena Bach.” Kevin Bryan
"Some of Feltsman’s eccentric mannerisms remain: occasional odd ornaments, sudden transpositions of music an octave down, and even (in the Courante of the French Overture) reversing Bach’s left-hand figuration. Yet it’s done with so much love and conviction that I never wince. What a change from the anemic, no-pedal-allowed Bach that Andras Schiff now inflicts on us via ECM." American Record Guide
"These are live recordings from 2002 and 2005, although you would never know it. They form a welcome addition to Vladimir Feltsman’s survey of Bach’s keyboard works for Nimbus and fully live up to the technical and artistic standards of previous releases. Feltsman seems entirely at home with this music, as he does in virtually every composer he has recorded for Nimbus; he has a protean adaptability to perform Schubert, Chopin, Rachmaninov and, as per here, Bach, with equal facility and success. As usual, he provides his own erudite and persuasive commentary in the liner-notes, justifying his decision to draw on both published versions of the manuscript scores and exercising his judgement in applying a level of ornamentation which seems consistent with standard Baroque practice, occasionally extemporising ad libitum. The French Suites are not perhaps amongst many listeners’ favourite Bach compositions, being rather more conservative and restrained than his other keyboard works but there is still much here to delight and I cannot imagine anyone who wants them played on a modern piano being disappointed by Feltsman’s artistry." Ralph Moore, musicweb-international.com