- Prélude 3:58
- Allemande 3:21
- Courante 1:25
- Sarabande 3:06
- Menuet I; Menuet II 3:29
- Gigue 2:06
- Prélude 4:28
- Allemande 3:01
- Courante 1:53
- Sarabande 2:40
- Passepied I en Rondeau; Passepied II 3:38
- Gigue 2:16
- Toccata in C minor BWV 911 11:09
- Fantasia in C minor BWV 906 2:44
English Suite No. 4 in F major BWV 809 17:42
English Suite No. 5 in E minor BWV 810 18:32
João Carlos Martins / Bach
The English Suites 4&5
Labor Records is proud to announce the digital release of The English Suites (4 & 5); Toccata in C minor; Fantasia in C minor the tenth installment of The Complete Keyboard Works of J.S. Bach, a collection comprising 15 volumes/19 CDs. This monumental edition features the celebrated Brazilian pianist João Carlos Martins, a legend among Bachophiles.
More than three decades after his originality and brilliant technique vaulted him onto the international stage, João Carlos Martins has achieved a life’s ambition by recording the complete keyboard works of J.S. Bach. The Martins approach is, to say the least, controversial among today’s historically correct set, which demands if not authentic instruments at least historical performance technique. He can infuriate the purists who hear only one “right” sound, and the public described by Oscar Wilde as those who “swallow their classics whole and never taste them.” Martins has not merely tasted many and varied flavors in Bach but has made of them a lifelong feast.
This new release in the ongoing series presents the various virtues of Martins’s approach: The Fantasia in C minor is evocative, electric; the sarabande of the English Suite No. 4 in F major is slowpitched and beguilingly melancholy. Romantic in the extreme, this is a Bach for the people. And who knows, the old cantor might have loved it. – Billboard
His high-voltage performance here may strike some listeners as bracing and others as merely breathless; my own vote is for bracing. The fast sections tend to be very brisk, and unusually robust, but never become a scramble. The gigues are so explosively festive that you may wonder if they wear well, but doubts tend to disappear with repeated hearings. The sarabandes are kept moving, too, and benefit enormously in cohesiveness and dignity. Most of the recording here, in fact, makes excellent sense displaying Martins’s all but miraculous clarity at any speed.
– Richard Freed / Stereo Review
These are warm, energetic, unstuffy, colorful, high spirited performances that present Bach as a living, organic part of today’s musical culture–as vibrant and original as he was 250 years ago. Martins seems fully at ease with his own individuality showing his artistry and music-making on a superbly human scale.
– American Record Guide
João Carlos Martins plays the piano like a piano and is not afraid to let Bach sound bold and energized. The excitement that occurs when he brings his powerful technique to bear on contrapuntally complex passages, such as the double fugue in the Toccata, is way beyond any reasonable quibbling over “correct” style.
– Arizona Republic
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