J. S. Bach: Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772-801 Zhu Xiao-Mei
- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Inventions and Sinfonias:
- 1Inventio 1, C Major, BWV 77201:00
- 2Inventio 2, C Minor, BWV 77301:43
- 3Inventio 3, D Major, BWV 77400:59
- 4Inventio 4, D Minor, BWV 77501:07
- 5Inventio 5, E-Flat Major, BWV 77601:23
- 6Inventio 6, E Major, BWV 77703:04
- 7Inventio 7, E Minor, BWV 77801:34
- 8Inventio 8, F Major, BWV 77900:54
- 9Inventio 9, F Minor, BWV 78001:34
- 10Inventio 10, G Major, BWV 78100:55
- 11Inventio 11, G Minor, BWV 78201:22
- 12Inventio 12, A Major, BWV 78301:20
- 13Inventio 13, A Minor, BWV 78401:09
- 14Inventio 14, B-Flat Major, BWV 78501:23
- 15Inventio 15, B Minor, BWV 78601:08
- 16Sinfonia 1, C Major, BWV 78701:07
- 17Sinfonia 2, C Minor, BWV 78802:08
- 18Sinfonia 3, D Major, BWV 78901:15
- 19Sinfonia 4, D Minor, BWV 79001:49
- 20Sinfonia 5, E-Flat Major, BWV 79102:18
- 21Sinfonia 6, E Major, BWV 79201:21
- 22Sinfonia 7, E Minor, BWV 79302:05
- 23Sinfonia 8, F Major, BWV 79401:09
- 24Sinfonia 9, F Minor, BWV 79502:55
- 25Sinfonia 10, G Major, BWV 79601:09
- 26Sinfonia 11, G Minor, BWV 79701:45
- 27Sinfonia 12, A Major, BWV 79801:23
- 28Sinfonia 13, A Minor, BWV 79901:44
- 29Sinfonia 14, B-Flat Major, BWV 80001:31
- 30Sinfonia 15, B Minor, BWV 80101:23
Info for J. S. Bach: Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772-801
“When Bach composed them, in his last years in Köthen, those pivotal years that were to lead him to Leipzig, he already had an incredible number of masterpieces behind him. He took the trouble to make a beautiful fair copy of this work. It’s a product of his maturity. But since these pieces serve as a basic tool for learning the piano, they’re inevitably overshadowed by the larger cycles, like The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, The Art of Fugue and so on. But that’s a mistake, because there’s an extraordinary density of music in the Inventions and Sinfonias.” Zhu Xiao-Mei
“Johann Sebastian Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias become real musical pearls in Zhu Xiao Meis incomparably refined playing, peppered by a totally respectful imagination and creativity. Enchanting!” (Pizzicato)
“Zhu Xiao-Mei turns her attention to these smaller-scale pieces, finding the drama in each miniature and rendering the set with myriad nuances.” (Arts Beat, The New York Times)
„The Inventions and Sinfonias of Johann Sebastian Bach are essential training pieces for young pianists, so they are quite well-known, though somewhat less venerated than the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, and the Art of the Fugue, which are regarded as much more challenging and lofty. Yet Zhu Xiao-Mei's recording on Accentus Music demonstrates that these are not mere exercises or easy pieces for beginners, but artistically challenging works in their own right, in which every choice is evident in the exposed two-part and three-part counterpoint. This album was recorded in the Mendelssohn Room at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, which has lively acoustics that complement Zhu's playing without drowning her sound or taking the edge off her crisp articulation. Listeners who prefer to hear these pieces played on harpsichord may not care for any performances on piano, but Zhu is so meticulous and precise in her execution, even a Bach purist can appreciate her skills and ability to make these pieces intellectually and emotionally satisfying.“ (Blair Sanderson, AMG)
Zhu Xiao-Mei, piano
occupies a place all her own in today’s musical world. Deliberately keeping her concerts few and far between, she appears in public only to perform especially demanding works, “mountains of the soul” which she judges essential, in interpretations matured over a long period of gestation, taking music to the most varied audiences in places that appeal to her and where she enjoys playing. But though she is nowadays the guest of the leading concert halls and the most prestigious festivals, though she plays with some of the most renowned orchestras and gives concerts everywhere in Europe, in Asia and in America, her career very nearly never took place at all.
Born in Shanghai, introduced to music by her mother at a very early age, she was already appearing on radio and television by the time she was eight.
At the age of ten she entered the Peking Conservatory, where her brilliant studies were interrupted by the years of the Cultural Revolution. She was sent to a reeducation camp on the border of Inner Mongolia for five years. However, thanks to sympathetic helpers she was eventually able to continue playing the piano.
On returning to Peking, she completed her studies at the Conservatory, and left China as soon as the regime gave its first signs of opening to the outside worlds. In 1980 she emigrated to the United States, then decided to settle in Paris in 1984.
From that time on, the career of ZHU Xiao-Mei, although begun relatively late and without any media coverage, began to take flight, going against all trends and fashions, in an incredible demonstration of the Confucian adage that
“life begins at forty”. She gives concerts all over the world, focusing on a repertoire which she limits to a few composers she cherishes above all others: Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann. At its very centre is Bach and his great cycles: The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Partitas and the Goldberg Variations, the work with which her name is particularly associated and which she has given in recital more than two hundred times, as well as The Art of Fugue.
Her autobiography La Rivière et son secret was published by Editions Robert Laffont (Paris) in October 2007 and was awarded the Grand Prix des Muses in 2008 (English translation at amazoncrossing: The Secret Piano).
ZHU Xiao-Mei is regularly invited to partipate to the jurys of international piano competitions (Clara Haskil, Long-Thibaud, Bach Leipzig,…). She has also teached during many years at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris.