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J.S. Bach - Harpsichord Concertos I, II, III

Marcin Świątkiewicz

Johann Sebastian Bach

SKU: 40418

Year of release: 2018

Harpsichord Concerto in d minor BWV 1052 21:55
1. I. Allegro Johann Sebastian Bach 07:33
2. II. Adagio Johann Sebastian Bach 05:59
3. III. Allegro Johann Sebastian Bach 08:21
Harpsichord Concerto in E major BWV 1053 18:06
4. I. [no tempo marking] Johann Sebastian Bach 07:36
5. II. Siciliano Johann Sebastian Bach 04:08
6. III. Allegro Johann Sebastian Bach 06:21
Harpsichord Concerto in D major BWV 1054 15:55
7. I. [no tempo marking] Johann Sebastian Bach 08:09
8. II. Adagio e piano sempre Johann Sebastian Bach 05:10
9. III. Allegro Johann Sebastian Bach 02:35
Total time: 55:57

About this album

Musical works of genius are sometimes approached as museum exhibits, and the controversies concerning interpretative freedom can even be more fierce than Scheibe’s famous polemic with Bach’s advocate Birnbaum. Full of respect for the Composer’s artistic ideas as I am, I try to understand his music in the context of a time when improvisation was universally practised. The wealth, complexity and refinement of the notation make this task more difficult, but important clues are provided by the study of versions that usually differ in these very aspects, namely – texture and ornamentation. I made up my mind to look for my own embellishments, especially in those sections that are repeated da capo, but also in the brief cadenzas. My partners in this project adopted a similar stance. We believe that this approach is closer to the Composer’s own intention than a literal reading of the score. It provides for a fuller understanding of the music and for a greater freedom of expression.  
– Marcin Świątkiewicz, harpsichord

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Klassieke Zaken

(...) Hij (Marcin Swiatkiewicz) weet de luisteraar compleet te overdonderen met zijn krachtige dwingende spel (...) bovenaards goed spel (...)

Polityka (Polish Magazine)

This is a true musical partnership, derived entirely from the Baroque spirit. As the soloist says, the idea was to show these works in their historical context, when improvisation was a universal skill. His playing demonstrates it perfectly, exploding with virtuosic cascades of sounds, full of freedom and sometimes also rhythmical. The whole album, full of brilliance and positive energy, allows the new fresh look at seemingly well-known pieces.

Nederlands Dagblad

Roel Sikkema (…) kleinschalige, heldere uitvoering (…) De vijf musici maken er prachtige muziek van. (…)


Charlotte Gardner “First impressions aren’t of a lean chamber sound at all: its crispness comes so very glowingly warm and full-textured. Yet you can also hear every musician – good news when the ensemble is topped by Il Pomo d’Oro concertmaster Zefira Valova and underpinned by Tomasz Pokrzywi?ski, Arte dei Suonatori and Holland Baroque’s principal cellist – and there’s no question that the sound’s strikingly light-footed, flowing and liberated quality is the reward of gifting such a crack team of period specialists complete autonomy over their individual parts “

Classics Today

(...) There’s the individual, tasteful but never over-the-top embellishment. The tempos are on the fast side—the slow movements especially bubble and sparkle at a crisp clip. The full sound of the five players belies the small ensemble. (...)

Opus Klassiek

Aart van der Wal (…) Wat de uitvoering betreft hoeft - en zeker niet in deze bescheiden bezetting - niet naar andere uitgaven te worden omgezien, want deze staat als een huis. De techniek is volmaakt, de spiritualiteit laat de toehoorder geen moment in de steek, de tempi zijn goed gekozen (ook in de twee delen zonder tempoaanduiding), de plasticiteit en transparantie zijn boven iedere kritiek verheven. Het resultaat is - hoe kan het anders - uitgesproken muzikantesk en daarmee precies datgene wat deze bruisende concerten nodig hebben. (…)

Audiophile Audition

(...) what makes this recording truly shine: the very real commitment Swiatkiewicz has made at improvisation (the effect is even taken up by the strings as well). To my memory, I can’t think of any recording of the Bach harpsichord concertos that have included such a florid rendering of music from the score. Sure, it’s easy to add an ornament here or there, but this is something altogether different. (...)

De Gelderlander

"This produces festive baroque music, dusted and sparkling like never before."

Technical Specifications

SpeakersGrimm LS1
Mastering Equiment-
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
EditingJared Sacks
CablesVan den Hul
Mixing ConsoleRens Heijnis, custom design
MicrophonesBruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps
Recording NotesOur partner for this release is Katowice, UNESCO Creative City of Music.We are grateful to Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, General and Programme Director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, for permission to record our album at the NOSPR’s headquarters and to use the institution’s harpsichords.

Recording FormatDSD 256FS
Analog To Digital ConverterDSD Super Audio / Horus
Recording DateSeptember 15-17, 2017
Recording LocationNOSPR, Katowice, Poland
Recording EngineerJared Sacks
ProductionJared Sacks