Jacques' Bach


The music of Bach, besides attracting pious adoration, has inspired arrangements and transcriptions from innumerable composers. Liszt, Brahms and Busoni wrote piano transcriptions, while composers including Elgar, Schoenberg, Webern, Stokowski and Stravinsky wrote orchestrations. More recently, the pianist Jacques Loussier has thrown his imaginative, stylish jazz reinterpretations of Bach's music into the melting pot with a two-disc release from Telarc called Jacques Loussier Plays Bach - Encore!

The first disc features recordings the Loussier Trio (with Vincent Charbonnier on double bass and Andre Arpino on drums) made in 1991. It's easy to imagine Bach nodding his head in time to these elegant arrangements, which include the Concerto in F minor BWV 1056, Concerto in C minor BWV 1060 and the B-flat major Partita. The Trio preserves the flavor of each movement while indulging in lively, jazzy riffs, with Loussier staying true to the spirit of the Baroque with an ideally crisp, clearly delineated sound.

Disc 2, recorded in 1992, features original Loussier compositions written in the late 1980s and performed here by the Prague Kammer Orchestra, such as "Tableaux Venetiens," a suite for strings. Also included is the Concerto for Violin and Percussion, with its references to Brazil, Piazzolla and Japan, and the nostalgic, jazzy Trumpet Concerto, played with flair by the trumpeter Guy Touvron.