Johann Sebastian Bach
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.