3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Bach concertos,
This review is from: Bach: Concertos (Viktoria Mullova) (Audio CD)
This is an excellent disc of Bach's A minor and E major concertos for violin and two transcriptions of harpsichord concertos. They are all terrific works, wonderfully played here by Mullova, Dantone and Accademia Bizantina.
The two transcriptions are often played as violin concertos: BWV1053 as here for solo violin and BWV1060 for two violins or, more commonly, for violin and oboe. Here it is transcribed for violin and harpsichord and is the one slightly weaker aspect of the disc, I think. The transcription is excellent and Mullova and Dantone play beautifully, but the imbalance in sound between the violin and harpsichord makes some of the call-and-response passages especially seem a little thin. Nonetheless, it's a terrifically enjoyable work whatever it's played on and I don't want to carp too much.
The performances are simply terrific throughout from soloists and orchestra. Mullova has a direct, slightly sinewy approach and remarkable precision which, as others have said, is rather different from that in Rachel Podger's excellent recordings. I love both, and here I really enjoy the insistent pulse and quite brisk tempi of the outer movements and the quite remarkable depth and almost stillness at times in the slower central movements. Mullova's technique is brilliant so that the whole thing sounds effortlessly natural and the ensemble are just as good, being supple and responsive throughout, and there is real intellectual weight underpinning the often foot-tappingly enjoyable music. It's a lovely programme.
I already had several well-loved recordings of all these works by some great performers including Rachel Podger, Andrew Manze, Simon Standage and others. This stands very well among them and even if you are in a similar position I would warmly recommend this - it's an exceptionally good disc which will complement your others very well and give pleasure for years to come.
(I would also very warmly recommend Viktoria Mullova's other Bach recordings:
The Solo Paritas and Sonatas Bach: 6 Sonatas & Partitas
and the accompanied Sonatas (with Dantone again) Bach - Violin Sonatas
Both are simply fantastic.)
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Initial post: 6 Aug 2013 11:54:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Sep 2013 13:41:29 BDT
A first class review.I agree with you regarding BWV 1060 where the harpsichord cannot balence with the violin - there is little doubt in my mind that this concerto was originally for 2 violins in d minor and NOT for violin and oboe in c minor which is an uncomfortable key for the Baroque oboe and something Bach would surely have been well aware of.Transposing this concerto to d minor (which is ideal for the oboe) reveals that there is 1 note in Bach's score that cannot be played on an oboe of the time giving further weight to the case for 2 violins.I also think BWV 1053 sounds splendid on the violin and i'm now not so sure that this concerto was originally for an oboe.(By the way i have nothing against the oboe as an instrument and enjoy it in music such as Handel's op 3,water music and the Boyce symphonies op2).
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