Known for his highly imaginative and philosophical approaches to his musical presentations, Federico Colli is back with a second album on Chandos. Having begun with Scarlatti sonatas, he now turns his hand to the great master J.S. Bach to explore the relationship between Bach’s music for keyboard and what Colli regards as its transcendent quality, its universal beauty.
In a personal note for the booklet, Colli explains how he arrived at the extraordinary interpretations captured here. The relationship he explores is discoverable in the Italian Concerto and Partita No. 4, but it is in Ferruccio Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Chaconne that the relationship, in his view, becomes clear. Colli offers the listener a vivid interpretation which links the progress of the piece, rich in symbolic detail, to important stages in the life, and afterlife, of Christ, different re-iterations of the theme and of the tonalities corresponding with key moments in the religious narrative.
As always, Colli gives deeply felt and exciting performances, his irrepressible personality and flair evident throughout.
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"What shines through this new Bach disc is a sense of musical daring; imagination, too; and sincerity by the bucketful, not just at the keyboard but also in his soul-baring notes…Just occasionally, though, I wanted him to rein things in a little. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that Colli is one of the more original thinkers of his generation."
"His liner note weightily considers the transcendent in Bach, yet his playing of the Partita, especially its vivacious dance movements, and the Italian Concerto is all lightness and brilliance."
"There is a percussive quality to his touch that means that when he rattles winningly through the outer movements of the Italian Concerto, with entirely natural fluency, you can almost hear how they would sound on a harpsichord…Colli’s performance [of the Chaconne] is characteristically thoughtful and considered, yet has a self-aware sense of the epic about it...it’s a monumentally well-paced performance that grips from each moment to the next."