Johann Sebastian Bach – Invenzioni e sinfonie – Janine Johnson

Despite the sophistication of the Inventions and Sinfonias, and their value as teaching pieces of performance and compositional technique, these works were not published in Bach’s lifetime, but rather in 1801, 51 years after his death. The “simple” version we are all presently accustomed to comes from this 1801 publication (Neue Bach Ausgabe), though we now are aware of other handwritten copies, including by Bach himself. Begun as teaching pieces for his own son, Wilhelm Friedemann, they were likely finished in Leipzig, where he moved in 1722.

Perhaps “finished” is not quite the right word, as Bach continued to tinker with them. It is evident to me that as teaching pieces, personal instruction by Bach would have been invaluable to his pupils, as improvised ornamentation would have been encouraged, hence the varying versions that have come down to us. It is my opinion that the simpler versions were kept as such to allow for the freedom to exercise one’s own taste in regards to ornamentation (within reason). Unlike Francois Couperin, who was annoyed at anyone’s altering of his text, Bach expected it.

In the pupils’ versions I am working from I find it interesting that in many, suggested ornamentation of the main subject only appears at the beginning. I would think the student was expected to extend the logic through the entire piece, though in my performance, I mostly stick to the text, so that you, the listener, can hear what was passed down to us. In a few cases I do carry the ornamentation a bit further, (see above) but am pretty discreet. In several of the later Sinfonias, the students’ ornamentation is heavy throughout, as is also true in Bach’s final versions.

The two most radically different works, in Bach’s hand, are Invention #1 with triplets, and Sinfonia 5, highly ornamented in the French style. In the case of Sinfonia 5, I wonder if my simple performance is even remotely correct. I suspect not.

In this performance, I also do not play every conceivable ornament. Sinfonia 12, for example, has some appogiaturas in the subject (appearing only once), that I personally don’t care for, though I suppose one could get used to them, and maybe even like them if they were carried out in all voices. The same holds true of an appogiatura in the opening subject in Sinfonia 14, which to me sounds like an interruption. It all eventually boils down to taste.

I hope you enjoy this, and those of you who play, I hope this inspires you to be more free and creative with these pieces. I also feel that sticking to these pupils’ versions is not essential, nor was Bach’s true intent, though they are quite instructive to us now.JJ
[hifi lofi] Play all tracks as an m3u audio stream (or xspf, ogg, mp3 file)
[hifi lofi] 01-Invention 1 in C major (1:04)
[hifi lofi] 02-Invention 1 in C major BFA (1:13)
[hifi lofi] 03-Invention 2 in c minor (1:46)
[hifi lofi] 04-Sinfonia 1 in C major (1:10)
[hifi lofi] 05-Sinfonia 1 in C major P219 (1:13)
[hifi lofi] 06-Sinfonia 2 in c minor (2:01)
[hifi lofi] 07-Sinfonia 2 in c minor P219 (2:12)
[hifi lofi] 08-Invention 3 in D major BFA (1:06)
[hifi lofi] 09-Invention 4 in d minor (0:53)
[hifi lofi] 10-Sinfonia 3 in D major (1:15)
[hifi lofi] 11-Sinfonia 2 in D major P219+ (1:18)
[hifi lofi] 12-Sinfonia 4 in d minor (2:12)
[hifi lofi] 13-Sinfonia 4 in d minor P219 (2:16)
[hifi lofi] 14-Invention 5 in Eb Major (1:28)
[hifi lofi] 15-Invention 5 in Eb Major BFA (1:31)
[hifi lofi] 16-Sinfonia 5 in Eb Major (2:47)
[hifi lofi] 17-Sinfonia 5 in Eb Major BFA+ (2:47)
[hifi lofi] 18-Invention 6 in E major (3:09)
[hifi lofi] 19-Invention 7 in e minor CWFB (1:16)
[hifi lofi] 20-Sinfonia 6 in E major (1:09)
[hifi lofi] 21-Sinfonia 6 in E major P219 (1:09)
[hifi lofi] 22-Sinfonia 7 in e minor (2:34)
[hifi lofi] 23-Sinfonia 7 in e minor P219 (2:27)
[hifi lofi] 24-Invention 8 in F Major (1:00)
[hifi lofi] 25-Invention 9 in f minor BFA (2:15)
[hifi lofi] 26-Sinfonia 8 in F Major HG+ (1:14)
[hifi lofi] 27-Sinfonia 9 in f minor (3:01)
[hifi lofi] 28-Sinfonia 9 in f minor P 219 HG (2:59)
[hifi lofi] 29-Invention 10 in G Major (0:51)
[hifi lofi] 30-Invention 10 in G Major BFA (0:53)
[hifi lofi] 31-Invention 11 in g minor (1:45)
[hifi lofi] 32-Invention 11 in g minor BFA (1:48)
[hifi lofi] 33-Sinfonia 10 in G Major (1:10)
[hifi lofi] 34-Sinfonia 11 in g minor (2:38)
[hifi lofi] 35-Sinfonia 11 in g minor P219 HG (2:51)
[hifi lofi] 36-Invention 12 in A Major P219 HG (1:21)
[hifi lofi] 37-Invention 13 in a minor (1:15)
[hifi lofi] 38-Sinfonia 12 in A Major (1:27)
[hifi lofi] 39-Sinfonia 13 in a minor (1:35)
[hifi lofi] 40-Sinfonia 13 in a minor P219 HG (1:48)
[hifi lofi] 41-Invention 14 in Bb Major (1:21)
[hifi lofi] 42-Sinfonia 14 in Bb Major (P219) (1:28)
[hifi lofi] 43-Invention 15 in b minor (1:14)
[hifi lofi] 44-Invention 15 in b minor HG (1:07)
[hifi lofi] 45-Sinfonia 15 in b minor P219 (1:51)


Buxtehude – Pachelbel – German Keyboard’s Masters – Janine Johnson

Known for the intricate artwork with which she adorns world-class harpsichords, the multitalented Janine Johnson’s style of playing is elegant yet extremely agile. Her German Keyboard Masters album highlights the splendid work of Dietrich Buxtehude, whom Bach walked for miles to hear and study, and Johann Pachelbel, who was Bach’s brother’s teacher–the brother who in turn taught Bach. This album makes a great pairing with her recordings of J.S. Bach’s, as these two composers had a profound effect on his work.
[hifi lofi] Play all tracks as an m3u audio stream (or xspf, ogg, mp3 file)
[hifi lofi] 01-Praeludium in g (Buxtehude) (6:04)
[hifi lofi] 02-Canzona in g (Buxtehude) (1:31)
[hifi lofi] 03-Fuga in G (Buxtehude) (2:49)
[hifi lofi] 04-In allgemeiner Landesnot (Pachelbel) (1:35)
[hifi lofi] 05-Auf das heilige Pfingstfest (Pachelbel) (1:54)
[hifi lofi] 06-Fuge in C (Buxtehude) (2:41)
[hifi lofi] 07-Aria Tertia from Hexachordum Apollinis (Pachelbel) (6:03)
[hifi lofi] 08-Suite in d – Allemande (Buxtehude) (2:22)
[hifi lofi] 09-Suite in d – Double (Buxtehude) (2:14)
[hifi lofi] 10-Suite in d – Courante (Buxtehude) (1:18)
[hifi lofi] 11-Suite in d – Double (Buxtehude) (1:41)
[hifi lofi] 12-Suite in d – Sarabande I (Buxtehude) (1:47)
[hifi lofi] 13-Suite in d – Sarabande II (Buxtehude) (1:18)
[hifi lofi] 14-Ciacona in D (Pachelbel) (7:00)
[hifi lofi] 15-Chorale Partita (Pachelbel) (6:28)
[hifi lofi] 16-Praeludium in G (Pachelbel) (0:37)
[hifi lofi] 17-Fuge in G (Pachelbel) (1:31)
[hifi lofi] 18-Von der Geburt Christi (Pachelbel) (2:25)
[hifi lofi] 19-Canzona in e (Buxtehude) (3:38)
[hifi lofi] 20-Ciacona in e (Buxtehude) (5:37)


Chopin – Recital – Janine Johnson

Recorded on a 1890 Broadwood grand piano, Janine Johnson’s Chopin interpretations of Chopin show off her elegant, agile style of playing as well as this Romantic-era composer’s full range of poetic expression. The waltzes are charming, the preludes delicate, and the nocturnes—rich.
[hifi lofi] Play all tracks as an m3u audio stream (or xspf, ogg, mp3 file)
[hifi lofi] 01-Waltz KK IVa no.12 in E major (1:52)
[hifi lofi] 02-Waltz KK IVa no.15 in e minor (3:45)
[hifi lofi] 03-Nocturne Op.72 no.1 (posthumous) in e minor (3:49)
[hifi lofi] 04-Variations on Der Schweitzerbub KK IVa No.4 (8:43)
[hifi lofi] 05-Prelude Op.28 No.10 in c minor (0:39)
[hifi lofi] 06-Prelude Op.28 No.15 in Db major (4:10)
[hifi lofi] 07-Prelude Op.28 No.13 in F major (5:30)
[hifi lofi] 08-Polonaise Op.44 in f minor (10:36)
[hifi lofi] 09-Nocturne Op.32 No.1 in B major (4:33)
[hifi lofi] 10-Nocturne Op.32 No.2 in Ab major (5:58)
[hifi lofi] 11-Ballade Op.23 in g minor (9:09)
[hifi lofi] 12-Valse Brilliante Op.18 in Eb major (5:08)