3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Bach Concertos (Audio CD)
Janine Jansen is a very fine violinist and I like her work very much. Even allowing for this, I was surprised by how very much I enjoyed this disc. There are many excellent recordings of these works and this stands with the best of them while feeling very fresh.
The works on this disc are Bach's two recognised violin concertos in A minor and E, the double concerto for violin and oboe BWV1060, and two of the sonatas for violin and keyboard. To be honest, I nearly didn't bother trying this disc because these are all so well-known and I have several well-loved recordings already, but I'm delighted that I decided to give it a go. Jansen has a wonderful lightness of touch throughout which gives all these pieces a real zing and a sense of light and air while never losing any of their intellectual weight. She shapes the phrases beautifully and her wonderful technique allows everything to sound effortless.
It really is a delight, and the oboe playing of Ramon Ortega Quero is equally good, making the double concerto a highlight for me - and the finale, one of Bach's most toe-tapping movements, has a terrific spring in its step. The ensemble is very small (four violins, two violas, cello and double bass) and very good, so they have a fabulous, chamber-like flexibility while being able to give it all the necessary welly in the more vigorous passages.
Jansen herself is just as good in the sonatas, although if there is a weakness on this disc it is in the harpsichord playing of her father Jan, which I found a little plodding compared to, say, Ottavio Dantone with Viktoria Mullova or Richard Egarr with Andrew Manze. Nevertheless, these are very enjoyable recordings.
The recorded sound is excellent. The notes are a little pedestrian but perfectly adequate and the presentation is nicely done. Even if, like me, you have several recordings of these concerti and sonatas I would suggest giving this a listen - I find it hugely enjoyable and recommend it very warmly.