Back Before Bach delivers on its promise. Piffaro surveys the music of 16th Century Germany, showing the foundation upon which Bach would build.
Piffaro explores seven different themes. The tracks for each theme moves in chronological order. This makes it easy to hear how each tune develops. In some cases, also making the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque.
The hymn tune “Christ is erstanden,” for example, is first heard in a 1480 setting. Then it’s in one by Heinrich Isaac, followed by 1550s settings by Johann Walther.
The set continues with the tune used in a Michael Praetorius chorale. It ends with an instrumental arrangement of Bach’s four-part chorale setting.
As always, Piffaro plays with energy and imagination. These are first and foremost engaging musical performances. And they happen to have some pretty solid musicological research backing them up.
Highly recommended for listeners (like me) who like early music with historical context. Also highly recommended for listeners who enjoy a well-programmed and well-executed recording.
Back Before Bach
Includes music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Heinrich Isaac, Michael Pretorius, and Johann Walther