Schiff Plays Bach On The Clavichord On New 2CD Set

Renowned Hungarian-born British pianist András Schiff has a new 2 CD release entitled Clavichord on ECM Records, on which he plays the keyboard works of JS Bach on the instrument for which they were written – the clavichord.

The sound of the clavichord is, says András Schiff, an invitation into “a new world, a quiet oasis in our noisy, troubled times. Thanks to the clavichord I now play and hear Bach differently.” An intimate and personal instrument – “a most gentle creature, ideal for playing alone” – it can also be, as Schiff notes, a demanding and unforgiving teacher. “On the clavichord we have only our fingers at disposal, they must create the music with the finest gradations of touch.” The early keyboard works are emphasized here, bringing us closer to the sounds of Bach’s day, and the “cantabile art” of the clavichord.

The album opens with the Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratro dilettissmo, journeys through Inventions BWV 772-786, Duets BWV 802-805, Sinfonias BWV 787-801, and the Ricecar á 3
from Das Musikalische Opfer BWV 1079 concluding with an extraordinary account of the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV 903. On this recording, Schiff’s first on the clavichord, he plays a replica of a 1743 Specken instrument, built by Belgian craftsman Joris Potvlieghe. The album was recorded in the Kammermusik Saal of Bonn’s Beethoven-Haus and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953, András Schiff studied piano at the Liszt Ferenc Academy with György Kurtág amongst others and later in London with George Malcome. He has performed cycles of complete Beethoven sonatas, and projects including the complete works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Schubert, and Bartók constitute an important part of his work. He last performed in Sydney for Musica Viva in 2018.


Read our review of András Schiff’s Sydney concert.

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