J.S. Bach Orchestral Suites, BWV 1066-69: Transcribed for piano duet

Eleonor Bindman’s new arrangement of Bach’s Orchestral Suites for piano duet follows her widely admired recording of the six Brandenburg Concertos. Once again, the transcription reimagines Bach’s writing using the modern piano, in this case a Bösendorfer. Bindman and her Duo Vivace partner, Susan Sobolewski, draw upon the suite’s dance movements to suggest how Bach might have distributed the material, ordering them for maximum contrast, and succeeding in conveying the music’s vitality and beauty in a new medium.

“As she did with the Brandenburgs, Bindman set out to create more “balanced” transcriptions by dividing the responsibilities, and the technical difficulties, more equitably than Reger did.… If I were half of a piano duo, I would want to play these transcriptions with my partner. (And I would be able to, as the scores can be purchased on Bindman’s website.) They retain many of the qualities of Bach’s originals—the grandeur, the balanced grace, the songfulness, and the zest… I appreciate the textural and tonal variety of Bindman’s transcriptions, mirroring Bach’s originals without forgetting that idiomatic writing for two pianos and idiomatic orchestral writing are different. That variety is realized in these performances. The playing is stylish and historically-informed, even though a Bösendorfer piano was unknown during Bach’s time.… There is nothing here that I did not enjoy. …transcriptions such as these help me to see the skeleton that supports the rest of the orchestral body. More than that, however, they are fun, and they celebrate the joy of amateur music-making, even though the performers on this CD are professionals of the first rank.”

—Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare