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B-A-C-H Ich ruf' zu dir: Liszt / Bach / Bach-Busoni - Shimkus

B-A-C-H Ich ruf' zu dir: Liszt / Bach / Bach-Busoni - Shimkus

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 196

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Liszt: Fantasia and fugue on the theme B-A-C-H
Bach: Capriccio in B-flat major, BWV 992; Contrapunctus XIV
Bach/Busoni: Ich ruf' zu dir; Komm, Gott schöpfer; Durch Adams fall; Toccata and fugue in D minor, BWV 565

Aurelia Shimkus, piano

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - February 10, 2016

18 year old Aurelia Šimkus amazes with combining, in her musical language, impressive boldness and precious tenderness. On this disk she plays, without blinking, organ on a piano as if it is her normal daily fare. At least that’s how it gets across listening to her playing Liszt’s piano transcription of his ‘Fantasy and Fugue on the Theme B-A-C-H’, as well as in some of the subsequent titles in her recital devoted to her wish to ‘combine music from different types and epochs consolidating them into one large work of prayer’. But as bold and boisterous her Liszt sounds, the more tenderly she comes across in Bach’s Capriccio B-flat major, as though she plays for a new born child.

Her choice of Busoni’s piano transcripts of Bach’s Ten Choral Preludes for Organ, is a well-balanced selection, allowing us to gain more insight in what she, with her youthful, unspoiled belief and expectations, sees and feels hidden in Bach’s ‘otherworldly’ music. This shines through so movingly in the filigree of notes she plays in ‘Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ’ (I call to you, etc.), the Choral Prelude that lends its name to this disk. At the opposite end of the same mystery, the famous Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565, she proves her talent in changing shades between ‘the bold and the beautiful’, with subtle yet remarkable ease.

In Bach’s final composition, Contrapunctus XIV from ‘Die Kunst der Fuge’ (The Art of Fugue), the B-A-C-H motive returns at the end where the score brakes off…. bringing Aurelia’s prayer to a close. Bach’s time was up; but for Ms. Šimkus it is not, because 'there is no end to Bach’s music’.

Taking her technically gifted play, her deeply rooted, religious ideas and her extremely wide musical ‘palette’ at face value, we cannot escape a feeling that we are dealing with a young, yet extraordinary talent ‘in progress’, seeking, in the footsteps of Johann Sebastian Bach, her place in, or her relation to a ‘Divine Sphere’, as she calls it. Still continuing her studies, it would seem to me that she is already well underway on the hard-going path many talented musicians before her had to follow to fame.

This is not just a disk for listening, it’s more: In conjunction with reading her notes, it may prompt a receptive listener to reflect on the ‘gift’ of talent and, moreover, the immaterial side of life.

ARS-Produktion’s contribution is not to be underestimated: Bringing it across in the best possible sound frame means capturing the wide dynamics of the concert grand; reproducing it in a blooming, undistorted surround picture that lends full justice to Ms. Šimkus’ impressive recital.

Blangy-le-Château,
Normandy, France

Copyright © 2016 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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