- Toccata in D minor, BWV 913 11:02
- Toccata in E minor, BWV 914 8:13
- Toccata in G minor, BWV 915 10:35
- Toccata in G major, BWV 916 7:29
- Prélude 7:47
- Allemande 3:01
- Courante 2:20
- Sarabande 2:05
- Double 2:13
- Gavotte I; Gavotte II 3:56
- Gigue 3:00
English Suite No. 6 in D minor, BWV 811 24:45
João Carlos Martins / Bach
English Suite 6
Labor Records is proud to announce the digital release of Four Toccatas; English Suite No. 6, the twelfth 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.
The Toccatas were written by Bach as showpieces for his own virtuoso keyboard style and date from his early period at the court of Weimar. These are sectional works, essentially in four movements; each of them alternates a virtuoso prelude and a hauntingly slow movement with a pair of fugues which combine learning, improvisational character and a grand style. The English Suite, also a work written during one of Bach’s sojourns at a German princely court, opens with a large-scale prelude that is a showpiece for the performer and follows up with a highly expressive suite of dances. Strikingly on display in this recording is Martins’s passionate, unbridled, romantic approach to the music of Bach – an approach which has brought him both ardent adulation and fierce criticism throughout his unusual career.
Martins stirs the emotions of most any Bach lover…
Martins makes no effort to treat his piano like a harpsichord: these are intensely pianistic performances, enriched with subtleties of dynamic shading unavailable on a harpsichord and all the more exciting for their fidelity to the character of the player’s chosen instrument.
– The Washington Post
Sample the opening D-Minor Toccata: Martins’s fingers are better than ever as he swaggers heroically through the work’s faster sections and Romantically caresses its more introspective ones. Sometimes he makes the piano sound like an organ, sometimes like a harpsichord, sometimes like a carillon, and sometimes like an instrument that hasn’t been invented yet. The Prelude to the English Suite No. 6 becomes an orchestral showpiece in this thrilling recording. Not even Glenn Gould (whose work Martins’s at times resembles, even down to the vocalise) had so many colors on his palette, and Martins is a much warmer player than the late Canadian ever was. (And he can strike other unexpected emotional nerves: the English Suite’s Gigue for a rendition that borders on the sinister.)
– Raymond Tuttle / Fanfare Magazine
© 2016 Labor Records. All rights reserved.