BACH Italian Concerto / Ashkenazy 4786773

. . . he applies a great diversity of articulation, with brilliant passages executed with his characteristic power, and phrasing and ornamentation are subject to the expressive needs of the moment . . . the Italian Concerto, BWV 971, has an exciting finale indeed. The two "minor" works on the program, the youthful "Aria variata alla maniera italiana", BWV 989, and the "Keyboard Concerto in D minor", BWV 974, . . . are a lot of fun, and Ashkenazy does not seem constrained by them in the least; they come off as a refreshing pause between the weighty treatments of the "Italian Concerto" and the "Partita in B minor", BWV 831 . . . The bottom line is that for established fans of Ashkenazy, his personality comes through here in full, and he seems to wrestle with Bach in the way the true greats do.

. . . this absorbing new recording features a brilliant Italian Concerto and a colorful reading of the French Overture. Best of all, perhaps, is the playful Aria variata, a youthful work foreshadowing Bach's mastery of the variations form.