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  • Friday, October 25, 2013
    Wall Street Journal: Jeremy Denk, Chris Thile Albums "Taking Bach to the Future"
    Jeremy Denk by Michael Wilson | Chris Thile by Brantley Gutierrez

    Pianist Jeremy Denk and mandolinist Chris Thile have each released recordings of music by Bach within the past few months on Nonesuch Records: Denk's recording of the Goldberg Variations, including a companion DVD with video "liner notes," and Thile's Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, which happen to include liner notes by Denk. In addition to timing and the repertoire that binds these two releases, not to mention that Denk was named a MacArthur Fellow this year and Thile the year before, a new article in the Wall Street Journal finds that both are able to "stand out from the pack" of other recordings of these pieces.

    "Of all America's up-and-coming classical instrumentalists, Jeremy Denk ... might well be the most interesting," writes the Journal's Terry Teachout in the article. "A brainy virtuoso at home in the world of words, he plays with a striking blend of deeply considered expression and total technical command."

    Writing of Denk's take on the iconic piece by Bach, Teachout says: "It's gorgeously and insightfully played, and I can't imagine any musician not wanting to hear what so thoughtful an artist has to say about so towering a musical monument ... I find Mr. Denk's interpretation of the 'Goldbergs' to be enthrallingly involving. He is one of our finest musical minds, and anything that such folk have to say about the classics is by definition worth hearing."

    Calling particular attention to the DVD portion of the album, on which the pianist, also known for his original and insightful writing on music, demonstrates passages on the piano as he explains certain details of the piece, Teachout says Denk "speaks with uncommon perspicuity about how the piece is put together."

    The article moves next to Thile's album, on which the mandolinist performs three Bach works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001; Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; and Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003.

    "Mr. Thile, who is better known for the riotously creative music that he plays with the Punch Brothers, his progressive bluegrass-pop combo, is by no means a classical-music dilettante," Teachout explains. "His delicate yet propulsive interpretation of the G-Minor Sonata would be more than worth hearing on violin, and the pointed sound of the mandolin endows it with a thrillingly new palette of instrumental colors."

    Citing Denk's liner notes commending the use of the mandolin on these violin pieces, Teachout concludes that the pianist "knows a good thing when he hears one, and so will you. If I had to guess what the future of recorded classical music will sound like, I'd bet on Mr. Thile's Bach—as well as on Mr. Denk's video liner notes. That's the kind of fresh thinking of which we can never have too much."

    Read the complete Wall Street Journal article at online.wsj.com.

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Wall Street Journal: Jeremy Denk, Chris Thile Albums "Taking Bach to the Future"

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on October 25, 2013 - 12:27pm
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Friday, October 25, 2013 - 14:30
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Pianist Jeremy Denk and mandolinist Chris Thile have each recently released recordings of music by Bach on Nonesuch Records: Denk's recording of the Goldberg Variations with a companion DVD of video "liner notes," and Thile's Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1. The Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout says both "stand out from the pack," finding Denk's "gorgeously and insightfully played ... enthrallingly involving" and that Thile's offers "a thrillingly new palette of instrumental colors." He concludes: "If I had to guess what the future of recorded classical music will sound like, I'd bet on Mr. Thile's Bach—as well as on Mr. Denk's video liner notes. That's the kind of fresh thinking of which we can never have too much."

Copy: 

Pianist Jeremy Denk and mandolinist Chris Thile have each released recordings of music by Bach within the past few months on Nonesuch Records: Denk's recording of the Goldberg Variations, including a companion DVD with video "liner notes," and Thile's Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, which happen to include liner notes by Denk. In addition to timing and the repertoire that binds these two releases, not to mention that Denk was named a MacArthur Fellow this year and Thile the year before, a new article in the Wall Street Journal finds that both are able to "stand out from the pack" of other recordings of these pieces.

"Of all America's up-and-coming classical instrumentalists, Jeremy Denk ... might well be the most interesting," writes the Journal's Terry Teachout in the article. "A brainy virtuoso at home in the world of words, he plays with a striking blend of deeply considered expression and total technical command."

Writing of Denk's take on the iconic piece by Bach, Teachout says: "It's gorgeously and insightfully played, and I can't imagine any musician not wanting to hear what so thoughtful an artist has to say about so towering a musical monument ... I find Mr. Denk's interpretation of the 'Goldbergs' to be enthrallingly involving. He is one of our finest musical minds, and anything that such folk have to say about the classics is by definition worth hearing."

Calling particular attention to the DVD portion of the album, on which the pianist, also known for his original and insightful writing on music, demonstrates passages on the piano as he explains certain details of the piece, Teachout says Denk "speaks with uncommon perspicuity about how the piece is put together."

The article moves next to Thile's album, on which the mandolinist performs three Bach works written for solo violin: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001; Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; and Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003.

"Mr. Thile, who is better known for the riotously creative music that he plays with the Punch Brothers, his progressive bluegrass-pop combo, is by no means a classical-music dilettante," Teachout explains. "His delicate yet propulsive interpretation of the G-Minor Sonata would be more than worth hearing on violin, and the pointed sound of the mandolin endows it with a thrillingly new palette of instrumental colors."

Citing Denk's liner notes commending the use of the mandolin on these violin pieces, Teachout concludes that the pianist "knows a good thing when he hears one, and so will you. If I had to guess what the future of recorded classical music will sound like, I'd bet on Mr. Thile's Bach—as well as on Mr. Denk's video liner notes. That's the kind of fresh thinking of which we can never have too much."

Read the complete Wall Street Journal article at online.wsj.com.

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Jeremy Denk & Chris Thile 2013

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