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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Blu-ray version of the concert filmed in 2004 previously available as a DVD, 14 Feb 2014
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bach: Jacques Loussier Plays Bach And More [Jacques Loussier, Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac, André Arpino] [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
This 2004 concert, filmed in St Thomas' Church, Leipzig marks the 254th anniversary of Bach's death and the venue was purposefully chosen to celebrate the venue so closely connected with a protracted period of time when Bach was the organist at the church.

Bach, as many will know, was especially renowned for his improvisational skills which would have been very apparent at this church. It is therefore fitting that Jacques Loussier, also known for his improvisational skills and especially as related to works of Bach, should perform this concert at the venue.

The trio, having previously been disbanded, was reformed in 1985 and it is that group that plays here. The program is more far reaching than that played by the original group as Loussier has extended his musical improvisations into the 20th century world of the French composers, Debussy, Ravel and Satie.

Thus we hear his improvisations on two of Debussy's piano compositions, the Arabesque (from two Arabesques), and L'isle Joyeuse. Satie's Gymnopedie for piano, the first of the three that he wrote, then follows. The French set concludes with an extended improvisation based on Ravel's orchestral Bolero. This is an extended piece for the trio and at nearly 13 minutes is the longest single piece on the disc.

The bonus feature is an interview with Jacques Loussier in which he gives a background history to his style of playing and its development and extension into the French world as above from the earlier Bach world. During this interview he is at pains to stress that the improvisations are very much worked-through compositions with an improvisatory feel but actually being fixed compositions. Therefore what is heard in this recent concert is very similar to the versions created and performed right at the start of his career. This means that much of this concert will be very familiar to long-term supporters of the group.

Returning to Bach, not surprisingly the disc both opens and closes with Bach, the final item being an improvisation around the Allegro movement from Bach's Harpsichord concerto 3. The majority of the concert focuses on Bach's inspiration and the first 5 pieces in the concert are the familiar Fugue 5; the gavotte in D; The Pastorale in c minor; the Air on a G String and finally, all three movements from the Brandenburg concerto 5.

The technical aspects of this disc are excellent with sharp imaging of good colour rendition. The sound provides excellent DTS 5.1 as well as stereo.

This disc will give plenty of pleasure to the supporters of the trio and is clearly an improvement over other earlier recordings so far as sound is concerned. Jacques Loussier is not the most demonstrative of performers, being full of applied concentration. Nevertheless this is a fine example of the Trio performing its current repertoire and supported by excellent recording and on top form.

Those familiar with Loussier's interpretive and performing style will be aware that his general approach to music making has varied little over the years other than being applied to a widening repertoire of original inspirations as demonstrated in this concert. This disc therefore is a faithful recording of the trio's current repertoire and simultaneously a confirmation of Jacques Loussier's individual approach to musical improvisation with a Bachian twist.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Another exemplary and fascinating Review (UK review)

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

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Thank you (UK review)

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