Johann Sebastian BACH
Piano Concertos
L'Association des Concerts de Chambre de Paris
Conducted by Georges ENESCO


BHP 904

1: Concerto in d-minor, BWV 1052
for piano & orchestra
Allegro - Adagio - Allegro

2: Concerto in E Major, BWV 1053
for piano & orchestra
Allegro - Siciliano - Allegro

3: Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054
for piano & orchestra
Allegro - Adagio - Allegro

Céliny Chailley-Richez, Steinway piano

Total time 71:01

BHP 905

1: Concerto in A Major, BWV 1055
for piano & orchestra
Allegro - Larghetto - Allegro

2: Concerto in f-minor, BWV 1056
for piano & orchestra
Allegro - Largo - Presto

3: Concerto in g-minor, BWV 1058
for piano & orchestra
Allegro - Andante - Allegro

4: Concerto in d-minor, BWV 1063
for three pianos & orchestra
Allegro - Siciliano - Allegro

5: Concerto in a-minor, BWV 1065
for four pianos & orchestra

Céliny Chailley-Richez,
Françoise le Gonidec,
Jean-Jacques Painchaud, and Yvette Grimaud, pianos

Total time 76:13

BHP 906

1: Concerto in c-minor, BWV 1060
for two pianos & orchestra
Allegro - Adagio - Allegro

2: Concerto in C Major, BWV 1061
for two pianos & orchestra
Allegro - Adagio - Fuga

3: Concerto in c-minor, BWV 1062
for two pianos & orchestra
Allegro - Andante - Allegro

4: Concerto in C Major, BWV 1064
for three pianos & orchestra
Allegro - Adagio - Allegro

Céliny Chailley-Richez,
Françoise le Gonidec, and
Jean-Jacques Painchaud, pianos

Total time 73:20

BHP 907

1: Triple Concerto in a-minor, BWV 1044
for flute, violin, piano & orchestra
Allegro - Adagio - Allabreve

2: Brandenburg Concerto in D Major, BWV 1050
for flute, violin, piano & orchestra
Allegro - Affetuoso - Allegro

3: Concerto in F Major, BWV 1057
for two flutes, piano & orchestra
Allegro - Andante - Allegro

4: Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971
for piano solo

Céliny Chailley-Richez, piano
Christian Ferras, violin
Jean-Pierre Rampal and
Gaston Crunelle, flute

Total time 79:07

Composer, conductor, outstanding violinist, pianist, cellist… George Enescu (Georges Enesco from 1937) was by any standards one of the truly great musicians of recent times. Born on August 19, 1881 in Liverni-Virnay, a small town in Roumania, Enesco remained always a Roumanian, supporting the arts in his country, drawing inspiration from its folk music. His "second life" in Paris connected him with the world of western European culture, a world in which he was loved and respected as a musician and a teacher.

On January 21, 1950, during the 60th anniversary season of his debut as a violinist, he gave a concert with the New York Philharmonic in the multiple capacity of violinist, pianist, conductor, and composer, in a program comprising Bach's Double Concerto (with Menuhin), a violin sonata (playing the piano part with Menuhin), and his first Roumanian Rhapsody (conducting the orchestra). This would be his crowning, as well as his farewell concert. For Enesco was now suffering increasing ill-health which virtually prevented him from playing the violin. In addition, his roots with his beloved Roumania had been unceremoniously severed when in 1948 the communist regime confiscated his and his wife's Bucharest Residence (though it has since been restored to its former glory as the National Enesco Museum).

Returning to Paris, it was perhaps his old friends who revived his spirits and encouraged him to new endeavors. Now no longer able to play the violin, he took up the baton for a series of recording sessions with the Orchestre des Concerts de Chambre de Paris. Encouraged no doubt by his long-time collaborator, the celebrated pianist Céliny Chailley-Richez, he embarked with her on the recording of Bach's concertos for one, two, three and four keyboards and orchestra, all of which are presented in this series save for the single concerto for four keyboards and orchestra. For the multiple-keyboard concertos, Mme Chailley-Richez was joined by Jean-Jacques Painchaud, Professor of Piano at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, near Paris, and Françoise le Gonidec, multiple prize winner at the Paris Conservatoire National Supéieur de Musique, and pupil of Nadia Boulanger and Dinu Lipatti. With his violin student Christian Ferras, and the newly emerging flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, Enesco also recorded two Triple Concertos by Bach for Flute, Violin and Keyboard: the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto BWV 1050 and the Triple Concerto BWV 1044.

To these works Enesco brought his own very special approach and style. "I believe that tempi should reflect a steady medium; not so fast that one is unable to follow the detail of counterpoint and harmonic progression, nor so slow that a movement appears to drag. There should also be a relative equality in duration between the two outer fast movements, and the inner slow movement to ensure an overall balance in the work as a whole." The resulting performances are pervaded by a sense of peace and tranquility, in which the detail of Bach's writing, in both the keyboard and orchestral parts, is clearly revealed.

In July 1954 Enesco suffered a stroke and remained an invalid for his remaining days. He died in Paris on May 4th, 1955. Thus our recordings are among the last expresions of his art.

Particularly significant in these recordings is the balance between piano and orchestra. In most recordings, the orchestra takes prominence while the keyboard takes second place, if indeed it is audible at all. In these recordings the orchestra accompanies the keyboard, while nevertheless remaining clearly audible. Indeed the clarity of these recordings, in the sense that piano and orchestra are each clearly discernible, is outstanding, and offers a lesson in balance for recordings today. This fact, combined with the measured tempi and clarity of articulation, makes these recordings even today a model for study.

"Perfection, which is the passion of so many people, does not interest me. What is important in art is to vibrate oneself and make others vibrate".

Georges Enesco and Céliny Chailley-Richez

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