New CD Release information from Nick van Bloss/Nimbus Alliance Records
Artist(s): Nick van Bloss/English Chamber Orchestra/David Parry
Composer: J. S. Bach
Repertoire: Keyboard Concertos
Catalogue No: NI6141 
Discs: CD1 Standard Jewel Case
UK PPD: £8.70
UK Release: 28th November 2011
Concerto in A major BWV 1055; Concerto in G minor BWV 1058; Concerto in D major BWV 1054; Concerto in E major BWV1053; Concerto in F minor BWV1056
The keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach are possibly the most important of any of Bach’s compositions; they led the way in expanding the keyboard repertoire and his composition of these works spanned his entire lifetime. Although Bach would most likely have composed many of these works for his students and peers, they have now become a central part of the modern repertoire for keyboard, indeed for the piano. Bach, himself, was a great keyboard player, a player of the organ, clavier and harpsichord, and he revelled in creating models and techniques that would fulfil these instruments’ greatest capabilities. Bach was well known for his technical abilities and improvisational skills, and many of his keyboard works started out as mere improvisations. His keyboard concertos are no exception to the brilliance of Bach’s compositional talent. Often referred to as the ‘harpsichord concertos’, these concertos are scored for keyboard, strings and continuo. There are six completed keyboard concertos and several abandoned attempts. Many of these concertos rose to popularity in the 19th century, during which they were performed by such figures as Felix Mendelssohn. The development of the piano has led to these concertos having many airings on the instrument, although the trend edging towards historically informed performance, has seen a rise in performances on the harpsichord. The truth of the matter is that one will never know the exact historic sentiments of the original performance of any of Bach’s keyboard concertos, as many of his works did not reach publication until much later after his death. These concertos were the foundations on which future composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and even Brahms would later build upon. Bach’s concertos still remain supreme and original examples of the solo concerto in its entirety.
Nick van Bloss was born in London and began piano lessons at the age of 11. His musical training began as a chorister at Westminster Abbey and he entered the Royal College of Music at the age of 15 as a Junior, attending full time from the age of 17, studying with Yonty Solomon and winning prizes for his playing. Further studies were with Benjamin Kaplan. In 1987, on hearing him play, the great Russian virtuoso, Tatiana Nikoleyeva, described van Bloss as the ‘finished article of a pianist’.
In 1994, aged 26, Nick van Bloss played a televised recital in Poland at the Chopin Festival. This proved to be his last public appearance before he retired from playing completely for 15 years. During these years van Bloss rarely touched a piano, but he did write his autobiographical memoir ‘Busy Body’, which was published, to much acclaim, in 2006. The following year he was the subject of a BBC ‘Horizon’ documentary, inspired by his book, exploring his creativity. This documentary led to interest in his piano playing and, in 2008, he began a series of recordings with award-winning producer Michael Haas, beginning with Bach’s monumental ‘Goldberg’ Variations, and including this recording of Bach’s Keyboard Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra.
In April 2009, van Bloss made a ‘comeback’ concert at London’s Cadogan Hall, playing a concerto by Bach and Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra. The concert, uniformly reviewed as a ‘Triumph’ by London’s critics, attracted massive media interest from all over the world.
Writing for ‘The Times’, critic, Hilary Finch said:
“What we heard in the (Bach) Concerto in G minor was playing with the clear articulation of a harpsichord and the full resonance of a Steinway grand. And throughout, the strongly structured playing was dappled with dynamic nuance. And, in his Beethoven Emperor Concerto…Van Bloss’s concentration was total, as if great reserves of inner strength were being loaded, only to be released, first in a long, crystalline trill, and then in the striding rhythms which it charged. Each note had ringing resonance; each phrase an instinctive flexibility – and this made heart-felt song of the wonderfully exploratory slow movement. The exuberance of the hard-won finale was palpable – and the hall rose to its feet. And now van Bloss must be invited by a major orchestra.”
Recent performances have been in the United States and the UK with the English Chamber Orchestra, and recitals and concertos, with van Bloss directing from the keyboard. Further details are at www.nickvanbloss.com
David Parry is acknowledged as an inspirational champion of operatic, concert and symphonic repertoire across a vast range. He has been responsible for the re-appraisal of countless lesser-known compositions in a series of multi-award-winning productions and recordings, featuring some of the world’s finest singers and soloists.
For more information visit http://www.rayfieldallied.com/artists/david-parry
The English Chamber Orchestra is the most recorded chamber orchestra in the world, its discography containing 858 recordings of over 1,500 works by more than 400 composers. The ECO has also performed in more countries than any other orchestra, and played with many of the world’s greatest musicians. The illustrious history of the orchestra features many major musical figures including Benjamin Britten and Daniel Barenboim. Paul Watkins has been the ECO’s Principal Conductor since 2009, and Sir Colin Davis was appointed Conductor Emeritus in 2010. The Orchestra continues to attract a host of eminent guest soloists and conductors. The ECO has been chosen to record many successful film soundtracks and has taken part in a variety of film and television projects. The ECO is proud of its outreach programme, Close Encounters, which takes music into communities and schools around the UK and overseas. Further details of this and all ECO activities can be found at www.englishchamberorchestra.co.uk
Nick’s recording of Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ (NI6136), released in January 2011 by Nimbus Records, was met with universal acclaim.
“Blissful freshness of approach…delicious…fascinating” International Piano Magazine
“…sublime poetry, playfulness and, above all, a relish of what the modern piano can bring to this music in terms of dynamics, colour and articulation.” The Sunday Times
“…precision is paramount, and van Bloss employs it here to mesmerizing effect…” The Independent
“The fluidity of line, the unforced lyricism – not always thought an allowable word with Bach, but just listen to this – and the clarity of structure and counterpoint make you sit up.” The Observer
“…sophisticated, imaginative voice-leadings that yield no quarter to Perahia, Schiff…” Gramophone
“This CD will dispel any doubts about the level of his artistry…I found its joie de vivre irresistible” The Telegraph
Additional Details & Marketing
The CD will be fully serviced to all UK classical music press and radio and key media overseas. Advertising will include major classical music magazines and publications.
Interviews with Nick van Bloss can be quickly arranged.
Please address requests for review copies and/or interview to email@example.com
Nick van Bloss Bach Concertos Press Release (99.0 KiB)