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Bach: Partitas Nos. 2 & 6; Tocata BWV 911 / David Fray

Notes & Reviews:

David Fray, who launched his Virgin Classics careers with Bach releases a new recital disc featuring the composer's keyboard music. "We shouldn't be afraid of acknowledging the expressiveness of Bach's music," says Fray. "The Romantics don't have a monopoly on expressivity!" Certainly, no one can be afraid of acknowledging the talented Fray, who is the most inspired Bach-player of his generation.

In this release, Fray plays Bach's Partita No. 2, which starts with the Sinfonia and its long and majestic introduction, amazing melodies, and riveting musical exchanges. Fray's execution of Bach's more difficult works is flawless - the Toccata in C Minor is exhilarating, with a flair of drama and excitement. Bach always excelled in large scale fugues standing above his contemporaries and this Toccata is no different. Partita No. 6 is a large and densely composed piece full of virtuoso passages and lyrical melody. These pieces show Bach's ability to take from the past while simultaneously shaping the future of music. This diverse, but unified, abstract work displays how Bach had a wealth of musical knowledge and took risks to achieve a unique sound. Fray exhibits his masterful knowledge of Bach-s works and tremendous talent to execute them, painting a vivid picture of Bach's remarkable works.

Voted Newcomer of the Year 2008 by BBC Magazine, David Fray has impressed the music world with his amazing technique and spirited playing style. Fray certainly has a very high opinion on Bach as he stated, he discovers more psychological depth, more well-rounded stories and more refined emotions than his colleagues.

American Record Guide, May/June 2013
I was hopeful when I began listening to this. Fray is a young pianist with a formidable technique as well as a mind and heart that can put his technique to profitable use. The C-minor Partita sounds good; this work is the best-played here. The C-minor Toccata sounds like a studied etude. It almost seems as if Fray's Bach is a one-size-fits-all expressive identity.

BBC Music Magazine, March 2013
Fray's touch is exactly nuanced, its technical control aristocratically poised, produces sonorities of irresistably pellucid light and shade. And his rhythmic vitality is acute.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2013
His C minor Partita (No. 2) stands out for its diversified articulations and sensitive melodic pointing...Fray also digs deepest in the E minor Partita's Sarabande, spinning out the long lines as if they were a vocal aria in one of the Passions...Fray is at his consistent best in his forward-moving, assiduously unified and gorgeously controlled C minor Toccata.

MusicWeb International, 26th April 2013
Those who love a bit of Bach on the piano will almost certainly enjoy what they hear...The occasional extra-musical blemish aside, this recording has to be given a firm recommendation, especially if you like your Bach rich and creamy, and nicely balanced with a bit of spice, but not too much.

The Independent, 12th January 2013
You can tell right from the opening notes of the "Partita No 2" that, as with Gould, every single keystroke has been painstakingly analysed, weighed and considered before Fray executes it - though judging by the sweep and flow of these performances, it's unlikely they were subject to the kind of finicky editing favoured by Gould.


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