Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe released their latest album on the Steinway & Sons label in January, and it’s part of our celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach all month on Classical WETA.
This is their fourth album together on the Steinway & Sons label, and you may recall their Mozart album, which we featured as our CD Pick of the Week in January. Their collaboration has been called “the intense synchronization of genius,” and they more than live up to that description in this new album.
One distinct facet of their creativity shown here is their distillation of a vast quantity of musical information in a very compact space. “Through this synoptic intermix of sacred, secular, and scholarly works, we aim to present a complete portrait of Bach, the master and man, and showcase the extraordinary range of his compositional output,” they say in their introduction. An ambitious challenge, to be sure. “Here we juxtapose original and reimagined versions of his music…the reciprocity of duo pianism unveils unexpected and intriguing dimensions…within Bach’s legendary compositions, a further reminder of the elastic yet unwavering authenticity of his creative voice.”
This is accomplished by including a concerto for two harpsichords, a suite by the soloists from the Saint Matthew Passion, selections from The Art of Fugue and the Goldberg Variations, the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, and several arrangements from cantatas. A special treat is their arrangement of Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen from the Cantata No. 127, which includes their colleague, the violinist Augustin Hadelich, who recently performed in the area with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore.
“We aspire to treat Bach’s definitive output with both reverence and festivity,” say the musicians. They show us Bach as “a master of counterpoint, a mathematical trickster and a transcendent spirit with a seemingly direct line to the heavens.” Tune in this week for Bach, familiar and unfamiliar, on Classical WETA.