Piano Street Magazine

Bach with New Ears

April 24th, 2014 in Top Video Picks by | 8 comments

The recent discovery of a new portrait of J. S. Bach opens up to the question: if we can see Bach with new eyes, how can we listen to Bach with new ears?
One of the most remarkable contributions to the idea that there is a world of Bach on the piano after Glenn Gould is the recording of three Bach concertos by French pianist David Fray in 2008. Enjoy the performance of the A major concerto and also take the chance to discover Fray’s world and work with Bach in Bruno Monsaignon’s film.

J. S. Bach – Concerto A major, BWV 1055, 1st mvt.

Swing, Sing, Think

Bruno Monsaingeon’s unique film “Swing, Sing, Think” takes us into the private world of David Fray and his work “recreating” three concertos for keyboard and orchestra by Johann Sebastian Bach. Although major musical figures such as Gould, Richter, Menuhin or Sokolov are part of Monsaingeon’s musical world, the filmmaker also likes to share his discoveries of young artists. David Fray, born in 1981, isn’t afraid of being in the limelight. He lets Monsaingeon film the recording of his first record for Virgin Classics in 2008 with Die Deutsche Kammerphilarmonie Bremen, which he also directs from the piano. The question is: How can one play Bach after Gould? We follow David Fray at home, in Paris, working on the score and explaining the different interpretational options open to him.

During rehearsals with the orchestra, he shares with the musicians his vision of the works with astonishing passion, spontaneity and imagination. Just like the title of the film “Swing, Sing and Think” suggests, this transmits the inspiration that Fray breathes into three Bach Concertos; in A Major BWV 1055, in F Minor BWV 1056 and in G Minor BWV 1058.

By retracing the musical gesture that leads to the interpretation of the work, or rather to its “re-creation”, the film also immerses us in the creative everlasting world of J. S. Bach.

“True baroque style could never be confined within the limits of the quest for an illusory instrumental authenticity. It resides, beyond philology, in the spirit, and it is at that level that David Fray has captured it with such moving eloquence.”
– Bruno Monsaingeon

See the entire Bruno Monsaingeon film “Swing, Sing, Think” about Fray´s recording of J. S. Bach concertos with Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen:

Which pianist of the two do you prefer for Bach's music?

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  • A pianist for the ages. After seeing David Fray compared to Glenn Gould, I thought ” Yeah ,right.” I was pleased to find that David Fray did not disappoint in the least. David is so passionate in his approach to Bach’s music one almost expects to see him sweating drops of blood. Gould is the only apt comparison. I am so grateful that you presented him to me through this forum.I will become a David Fray follower,now, I have seen the promised land

  • Sorcerer88 says:

    I have this documentary on DVD since quite a while (Swing, Sing and Think). I recently rewatched it with a friend. It’s truly inspiring. The vitality he brings to the music, how he always expresses so strongly, really make the music come alive. And he is a very interesting personality, not afraid to show how this music touches him.
    It’s just unfortunate to me that he didn’t record my favourite concerto, the first, in D minor. Well, when he records 3 out of 6, about half will be disappointed in the choice. But what he plays, he plays brilliantly.

  • Yayá says:

    I loved to watch this documentary because He brings a new breathe for Bach and his feeling is great.
    The face He shows to ask a better performance is brilliant and is very useful for musicians around the world.
    Thank you for share this video with us.

  • Linda says:

    Quite a beautiful, inspiring interpretation—filled with life! I love it. I do think someone needs a hair-clip, though! :) Thank you for this. My students will now also be able to think differently about Bach’s great music!

  • Oscar Lasprilla says:

    I enjoyed his performance and his piano playing of Bach’s repertoire,he does keeps within the Bach’s score tradition with great energy and conviction,but to my taste, his physical expression it’s too theatrical in excess that it’s distracting,and sometimes overshadows the musical content,if only he could find a more moderate balance on his act,I personally think,David Fray can be a Glenn Gould contender on the advance.

  • Karin says:

    “The king is dead ~ long live the king” ???
    WHy ???
    Let there be two kings !!! Glen Gould AND David Fray

  • Hey! Gould is better!

  • Glenn says:

    OK, Glenn Gould really sucks, so why even ask this question? David Fray is AMAZING

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