Bach Inspirations

Bach, Franck, Liszt, Grainger et al

Bach has proved an inexhaustible source of inspiration for composers. Although he was the target of considerable criticism in his day, and his works were rarely if ever performed in the years immediately after his death, his standing among colleagues was undisputed.

In particular Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-tempered Keyboard) was considered a virtual handbook for composers. Haydn was familiar with the collection, Mozart transcribed portions of it for string quartet, Beethoven was taught from it, and Chopin used the music to warm up before concert performances.

Bach’s vocal compositions did not have a commensurate reputation. But after Mendelssohn organized a performance of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829, it proved to be the start of a genuine Bach revival for wider audiences. In the following years, both Schumann and Liszt became passionate advocates for Bach’s music. Liszt, as a touring piano virtuoso, aroused wild enthusiasm with his own arrangements of several of Bach’s major organ compositions. In this way he established the foundation for a vast repertoire of arrangements and transcriptions that appeared in the succeeding generations. A varied selection of these can be heard on this recording. – From the booklet notes

‘Early contender for Gramophone instrumental Record of the Year. Why? The programme is artfully conceived. Every single performance by this 28-year-old Dutch pianist is out of the top drawer.’

Gramophone (Editor’s Choice)

Bach/Busoni – Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 659

‘Minnaar’s interpretation of the Busoni reworking of “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” is restrained yet intense. He plays through a phrase with a sense of continuity and purpose and his musical intelligence sings out.’

The Observer

‘You hear sacred sounds that slide above and below each other and together reach towards heaven.’

De Volkskrant *****

‘All equally stunningly beautiful, with an extremely refined toucher. His playing style could be called restrained, but that's what makes it all so moving.’

Het Parool

‘Inspirational fantasy with unfailing structural flair. His golden touch and linear sensitivity highlights the music’s internal logic, yet like a true Romantic he creates the impression that underlying Bach’s contrapuntal wizardry is a compelling emotional narrative.’

BBC Music Magazine ***** (Instrumental CD Choice of the Month)