35 Songs, 1 Hour 17 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This exquisite program of Bach won 2019’s BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year award. Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson takes us on a journey through the Baroque composer’s original pieces for keyboard, mixed in with breathtaking arrangements of chorale preludes, violin works, and cantata movements. This collection is, at once, symphonic in scope and profoundly intimate, and Olafsson beautifully expresses Bach’s timeless appeal. August Stradal’s arrangement of the Organ Sonata No. 4’s Adagio is a revelation, as are the Siloti and Rachmaninoff transcriptions—each heartrending and winsome. Elsewhere, Olafsson plays the preludes and fugues, sinfonias and inventions scattered throughout with consummate soul, and the lesser-known, witty Aria Variata at the album’s epicenter is a delightful discovery.

Apple Digital Master

EDITORS’ NOTES

This exquisite program of Bach won 2019’s BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year award. Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson takes us on a journey through the Baroque composer’s original pieces for keyboard, mixed in with breathtaking arrangements of chorale preludes, violin works, and cantata movements. This collection is, at once, symphonic in scope and profoundly intimate, and Olafsson beautifully expresses Bach’s timeless appeal. August Stradal’s arrangement of the Organ Sonata No. 4’s Adagio is a revelation, as are the Siloti and Rachmaninoff transcriptions—each heartrending and winsome. Elsewhere, Olafsson plays the preludes and fugues, sinfonias and inventions scattered throughout with consummate soul, and the lesser-known, witty Aria Variata at the album’s epicenter is a delightful discovery.

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Birdienumnum ,

So where are the reviews? C'mon, folks . . .

If you love classical music and are perusing my burbling words, don't hesitate. Olafsson really is the Icelandic Glenn Gould. In other words, brilliant and soulful and unconventional. I am so glad my local classical station played this, what a discovery!

AmbroseOfMilan ,

Magical

The transcendent genius of Bach is revealed in many ways, one of which is the ability for new interpretations to find new beauties still, after centuries of constant play.

This album is a revelation, shattering in its revelatory beauty.

alexkhan2000 ,

The Timelessness of Bach Realized for the Modern Ears

What a mindblowingly refreshing take on Bach that totally transcends the same old rehash of the classical repertoires from other young pianists. Sure, there are some amazing talents like Daniil Trifonov and Yuja Wang who seem to be taking the classical world by storm but Olafsson has something else and I can't put the exact words to it.

Bach has always been a hit-and-miss with me. On one hand, there is the timeless quality of his compositions and which are full of wonder and genius that even the likes of Mozart and Beethoven can't match but, on the other hand, the recordings - especially the supposed "period" pieces - can sound trite and old-fashioned.

This album goes beyond all that and presents the genius of Bach with a refreshingly modern and forward-thinking perspective - a Bach that speaks to the minds of us in the 21st century. I used to be one of those purists who felt that Bach should be performed with period instruments and exactly as his works were notated but that only seemed to drive me away from him. This album again brings me back to Bach for his pure and timeless musical genius which, in the end, is all that matters...

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