The musical partnership of violinist Enrico Gatti and harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini now goes back a number of decades to when this pair of Italians, both with a voracious appetite for early music, were setting out on their careers. The years pass and both artists make fabulous recordings, often directing their own ensembles.
Now with the natty title of Cross-dressing Bach, these Baroque music chamber musicians par excellence have reunited to produce a fascinating sound essay in different scorings, or dressings, for a range of works by Johann Sebastian Bach – a composer who was ever revising and refining his works and whose musical output can never be tidied away neatly as “all considered and understood”. As well as including alternative versions, this new recording revisits works with known scorings for other instruments and clothes them anew: there is a flute partita here, a pair of viola da gamba sonatas there. For all their affinity and interpretative skill with music from their own lands, this performance from Gatti and Alessandrini sees them clearly relishing rummaging in the never-ending supply of clothes from Bach’s musical wardrobe.
It is one joy to welcome Enrico Gatti once again on Glossa, another to greet Rinaldo Alessandrini for the first time. Francesco Zimei provides thoughtful, carefully-argued and scholarly background arguments for both the overall programme of violin and harpsichord collaborations but also the potential origins of the individual works.