Confluences - Bach & Chopin (2017)

Chopin, Bach

Josep Colom

Bach's influence on Chopin's music is apparently subtle yet powerful. Ever since the Polish master was introduced to Bach's compositions by his first teacher, Adalbert Zywny, Chopin constantly turned to Bach as a supreme point of reference. This influence, which can be detected at various levels throughout his works, is at the core of this recording. Josep Colom's exceptional vision and artistry brings out this two composer's connection by pairing Bach's Preludes and Chopin's Études and Nocturnes on the basis of shared or contrasting key signatures, similar instrumental treatment or texture, subtle harmonic links, dialectic oppositions or spiritual affinities, and with the help of finely-drawn improvisatory passages that either connect a prelude to an étude or act as a transition into a new pairing.

 

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Josep Colom

I was born in Barcelona in 1947. Unusually for that period in Spain, music was a big part of our everyday family life, as far back as I can remember. Thanks to this, and the unconditional emotional and financial support I received from my parents, who were not themselves professional musicians, I was able to choose my career path at an early age, and have enjoyed it ever since.

In my youth, I won a number of competitions. The Jaén and Santander International competitions (1977 and 1978 respectively) helped me begin to make a name for myself in Spain; many years later, the Spanish Ministry of Culture awarded me the National Music Prize, an accolade I’m particularly proud to have won because it represents the appreciation and endorsement of my colleagues in the profession. During the 1980s I gradually made more and more public appearances, and these days, as well as performing as a recital soloist and chamber musician, I play regularly with virtually all the Spanish orchestras under the baton of excellent conductors, at the country’s leading venues and festivals. I also play abroad quite frequently, especially in France, where I lived for a number of years during the 70s while studying at Paris’s École Normale de Musique, founded by Alfred Cortot. I’ve also made most of my recordings in France, for the Mandala label, with albums of music by composers as diverse as Brahms, Franck, Blasco de Nebra, Mompou and Falla, among others. RTVE has recently released both a DVD of a performance I gave of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto and a CD of works by Chopin, Debussy and Ravel – live recordings from the Radio Clásica archive issued as part of a series entitled Grandes pianistas españoles. Despite the occasional imperfection here and there, I prefer live recordings for the greater authenticity they offer.

Throughout my career many other musicians have influenced my artistic development. One in particular that I’d like to mention is the composer (and, at the time, pianist) Joan Guinjoán who, when I was only nineteen, helped me develop a much more rational and structured way of approaching music and performance.

My reserved, introverted temperament means I feel most at home in the world of recital and chamber music, although I’ve never wanted to forego the chance to enjoy the wonders of the concerto repertoire. I’m not going to try to list all the orchestras, conductors, quartets and other musicians with whom I’ve shared great moments of music-making, because inevitably I’d leave some of them out, but I value each and every one of them immensely.

Teaching has become an increasingly important part of my life. Coming into contact with younger musicians has enabled me to rediscover the great piano repertoire with renewed enthusiasm. As well as giving regular masterclasses, I’ve also taught at the University of Alcalá de Henares since its music department opened in 1990, and at the Saragossa Conservatory and Valencia’s Musikeon, while in September 2012 I took up a post at Barcelona’s Liceu Conservatory.

I consider it a great privilege to be able to make music, and I am grateful to all those who have made the effort over the years to come and share this daily miracle with me.

Josep Colom

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Confluences - Bach & Chopin (2017)

Chopin, Bach

Josep Colom

    NativeDSD Reviewer

Confluence, meaning “the place where two rivers flow together and become one larger river” (Cambridge Dictionary), is a well-thought through solo piano album that interweaves Chopin and Bach in their barest form. It is a delightful follow up to the Spanish virtuoso pianist Josep Colom’s previous album with Eudora, Dialogue (also available from NativeDSD Music), combining the music of Mozart and Chopin. Colom provides listeners with an intellectual journey that can mesmerize novices as much as it seduces connoisseurs of the piano. By opening with Bach’s elementary Prelude No. 1 in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier and then seamlessly moving into Chopin’s Étude in that key Op. 10/1, the subtle complexity of Bach’s genius is suddenly reinterpreted in light of Chopin’s own genius, arriving just over a century later. This interplay of Bach and Chopin continues for 78 minutes, evolving with intricate adjustments to the timing of each composer’s work to create a sense of flowing—well, rivers. Colom’s deceptively innocent opening turns towards rapid waters before long, escalating and even turning dark and moody, with the brilliant choice to throw in several of Chopin’s Nocturnes when Bach’s Preludes become lyrical, following the aria and cantata styles of the Baroque period. While some might see the choice to use a modern Steinway for composers who used different technology in their day as a move away from purely historical Bach and Chopin, it allows for a more fluid shift between each work. Moreover, Colom, who judges, teaches, and gives Masters’ classes, allows himself some leeway with transitions and rhythms in order to create the masterful sense of flow that one gets from this riveting album. Overall, this adds to the intellectual intrigue offered here, which was originally recorded in 256 DSD and 5.0 channels to allow for a potentially cascading wall of sound for those equipped for the ride.

Joel Parker[read full review]

    Audiophile Audition -

"The listener is invited into the deepest musical thinking by this scrupulous interpreter, but ends up ensorcelled by the pure beauty of the music.[...] It is in the slower pieces, too, that we hear what a majestic instrument this Steinway is, and what an remarkably vivid and detailed recording has been achieved by the sound engineering wizardry of Gonzalo Noqué.[...] Josep Colom has achieved a unique distinction in carrying off this unusual notion and bringing something entirely new to the most familiar of repertoires. Again we must salute Eudora for this excellent recording."

Fritz Balwit[read full review]

    Opusklassiek

"The fact that it is possible to connect different piano works in such an overwhelming way says something about the quality [...] of this performance. I was completely overwhelmed by it and that has not really gotten worse after many listening. For me, this is one of the most beautiful examples of unity through diversity, both from a structural and an expressive point of view. And then there is that Nocturne. 48 no. 1 that in this version reveals a world that I did not yet know as such.[...]"

Aart van der Wal[read full review]

    HRAudio.net -

"The result is that the moment you hear Colom playing in his recital, you are astonished by the natural spontaneity and deep expressiveness produced by his subtle and perfectly judged interpretations. Superb pianism deserves recording of the highest quality.[...]Simply, sound is amazingly natural and full of detail[...]"

John Miller[read full review]

Confluences - Bach & Chopin (2017)

Chopin, Bach

Josep Colom

Cables: Grimm
Digital Converters: Merging Horus
Editing Software: Merging Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: GonzaloNoqué
Microphones: Sonodore, Neumann U89, Schoeps
Producer: GonzaloNoqué
Recording Engineer: GonzaloNoqué
Recording location: Auditorio de Zaragoza, Sala Mozart, Zaragoza, Spain
Recording Software: Merging Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD256
Speakers: Amphion

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EUDDR1703: Confluences - Bach & Chopin
01:17:49   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Prelude No. 1 in C major BWV 846
Bach
00:02:02   N/A
2.
Étude in C major op.10/1
Chopin
00:02:33   N/A
3.
Prelude No. 15 in G major BWV 860
Bach
00:00:53   N/A
4.
Étude in G flat major op.10/5
Chopin
00:02:13   N/A
5.
Prelude No. 10 in E minor BWV 855
Bach
00:02:52   N/A
6.
Étude in E flat minor op.10/6
Chopin
00:03:04   N/A
7.
Prelude No. 15 in G major BWV 884
Bach
00:01:16   N/A
8.
Étude in F minor op.10/9
Chopin
00:02:56   N/A
9.
Prelude No. 3 in C sharp major BWV 848
Bach
00:01:43   N/A
10.
Étude in C sharp minor op.10/4
Chopin
00:02:18   N/A
11.
Prelude No. 9 in E major BWV 854
Bach
00:01:48   N/A
12.
Nocturne op.9/3
Chopin
00:07:19   N/A
13.
Prelude No. 14 in F sharp minor BWV 883
Bach
00:03:11   N/A
14.
Nocturne op.48/2
Chopin
00:07:17   N/A
15.
Prelude No. 20 in A minor BWV 889
Bach
00:02:48   N/A
16.
Étude in A minor op.10/2
Chopin
00:01:51   N/A
17.
Prelude No. 5 in D major BWV 850
Bach
00:01:32   N/A
18.
Étude in F major op.10/8
Chopin
00:03:13   N/A
19.
Prelude No. 6 in D minor BWV 851
Bach
00:01:33   N/A
20.
Etude in F minor op.25/2
Chopin
00:01:58   N/A
21.
Prelude No. 21 in B flat major BWV 866
Bach
00:01:37   N/A
22.
Étude in E flat major op.10/11
Chopin
00:02:40   N/A
23.
Prelude No. 8 in E flat minor BWV 853
Bach
00:04:37   N/A
24.
Nocturne op.48/1
Chopin
00:07:24   N/A
25.
Prelude No. 2 in C minor BWV 847
Bach
00:01:19   N/A
26.
Étude in C minor op.25/12 - Confluence
Chopin
00:05:52   N/A

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