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Bach and Beyond / Gabriela Montero

Album Summary

>Montero, Gabriela : Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, for piano (after Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147)
>Montero, Gabriela : Presto, for piano (after Bach's Italian Concerto, BWV 971)
>Montero, Gabriela : Beyond Bach
>Montero, Gabriela : Air in G, for piano (after Bach's Orchestral Suite no 3 in D, BWV 1068)
>Montero, Gabriela : Aria, for piano (after Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988)
>Montero, Gabriela : Adagio, for piano (after Bach's Violin Concerto no 2 in E, BWV 1042)
>Montero, Gabriela : Prelude in C, for piano (after Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (BWV 846))
>Montero, Gabriela : Sheep may safely graze, for piano (after Bach's The Hunt Cantata, BWV 208)
>Montero, Gabriela : Two-Part Invention in D minor, for piano (after Bach's Two-Part Invention in D minor, BWV 775)
>Montero, Gabriela : Allegro, for piano (after Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no 3 in G, BWV 1048)
>Montero, Gabriela : Adagio, for piano (after Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 974)
>Montero, Gabriela : Toccata in D minor, for piano (after Bach's Toccata in D minor, BWV 565)
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In this, her second recording, Gabriela Montero lends her unique improvisational skills to the work of Bach, taking well-known themes from this foremost of composers and weaving them into intricately-formed "spontaneous compositions" exploring original and enchanting directions. "Improvisation is an art usually associated with jazz. Yet no jazz musician today plays with Ms. Montero's sweeping command and technical flair, her ability to sail through myriad stylistic palettes and generate intricate counterpoint at a moment's whim." -Wall Street Journal

Notes & Reviews:

Jazz musicians have been taking themes (and even large-scale compositions) of Johann Sebastian Bach and giving them jazz settings for years -- the Modern Jazz Quartet did so famously in the 1950s, and the Jacques Loussier Trio has set up a virtual cottage industry in that practice more recently. It would be natural to expect something similar from an album of improvisations titled Bach & Beyond. But Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero isn't a jazz pianist -- she's a classical pianist who improvises, and although there are jazz-inflected moments on this collection of two- to seven-minute extemporizations, the overall sound is a decorous blend of Baroque and romantic styles with occasional passages suggesting turn-of-the-century salon music and South American dance genres as well. One of Montero's favorite techniques is to take a major-key theme and play it through before knocking it down into a dark minor-key variation, and then take that as the starting point for a long series of cyclical variations -- note, for example, her treatments of an aria from the "Goldberg Variations" and of the familiar "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" melody. Her Latin roots are exposed nicely on a brief and exhilarating expansion of one of Bach's two-part inventions, while she indulges her more contemplative side on a sweet and lovely rendition of "Sheep May Safely Graze." Those who consider Bach's music a temple that must not be sullied or contaminated by mere mortals may want to steer clear, but the rest of us will find much to enjoy here. ~ Rick Anderson



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Works Details

>Montero, Gabriela : Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, for piano (after Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Presto, for piano (after Bach's Italian Concerto, BWV 971)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Beyond Bach
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Air in G, for piano (after Bach's Orchestral Suite no 3 in D, BWV 1068)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Aria, for piano (after Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Adagio, for piano (after Bach's Violin Concerto no 2 in E, BWV 1042)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Prelude in C, for piano (after Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (BWV 846))
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Sheep may safely graze, for piano (after Bach's The Hunt Cantata, BWV 208)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Two-Part Invention in D minor, for piano (after Bach's Two-Part Invention in D minor, BWV 775)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Allegro, for piano (after Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no 3 in G, BWV 1048)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Adagio, for piano (after Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 974)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Montero, Gabriela : Toccata in D minor, for piano (after Bach's Toccata in D minor, BWV 565)
  • Performer: Gabriela Montero (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary