J Bach .S. / Espona / Vivanet - Baroque Piano Collection | RECORD STORE DAY

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Masterpieces of Baroque piano literature, in critically acclaimed recordings by pianists with a fine sensibility for the 18th century. Recordings made between 2005 and 2023; new booklet essay; an ideal budget introduction to the world of the Baroque keyboard, full of elegant dances and virtuoso playing. This survey of Baroque composers ranges from the high-point of 18th-century keyboard writing, the Goldberg Variations of Bach, to little known gems such as the sonatas by Espona, Galuppi and Giustini. It places the three great masters of the Baroque - Bach, Handel and Rameau - in the context of their influential predecessor, Sweelinck, and then those composers such as Galuppi and Espona who write in a new, galant style which overlaps with the Classicism of Mozart. Some of the artists on these recordings are still in their 20s, having grown up with a culture of historically informed performance practice which they then bring to their handling of a modern piano. Others, such as Yuan Sheng and Wolfram-Schmitt Leonardy, have been playing these pieces for many decades, and bring to them a career's worth of experience in teasing out the meaning and rhetoric of 18th-century phrasing and harmony on an instrument which none of the composers ever encountered. Handel is represented not by the familiar Eight 'Great' Suites but by an imaginative collection of earlier suites. Scarlatti's fertile invention is generously celebrated with 35 of his sonatas. Bach predominates, naturally, with the Six Partitas and the Italian Concerto as well as the Goldbergs, thus representing the stylistic range of his output. Keyboard styles from all over mainland Europe make an appearance, in the Dutch/Italian nobility of Sweelinck, the Hispanic-Italian flavour of Scarlatti, the French accents of Bach and Handel, and native French of Rameau, and the exuberantly Italian flourishes and proto-operatic gestures of Galuppi and Giustini. There is something here for everyone.