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J.S. Bach: 6 Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin, BWV 1014-1019

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Product details

  • Performer: Catherine Manson, Ton Koopman
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (27 Aug. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Challenge Classics
  • ASIN: B008IANQGO
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,872 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

The world-renowned early music specialist and keyboard player Ton Koopman and the violinist Catherine Manson perform the six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin, BWV 1014-1019 of Johann Sebastian Bach on this 2-CD set for Challenge Classics. Their previous collaboration on the label was an outstanding recording of the music of Buxtehude.

Catherine Manson enjoys a versatile performing career specialising in period performance as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. She became the current leader of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in 2006, and as first violinist of the London Haydn Quartet has been involved in a critically acclaimed series of recordings of the Haydn quartets for Hyperion. Together with keyboard player and musical director Ton Koopman she has recorded all the Buxtehude chamber music, and has appeared frequently as a chamber musician together with such artists as Trevor Pinnock, Anner Bylsma, Malcolm Bilson, Steven Isserlis and Michael Chance. Alongside her recordings for Hyperion she has also released CDs for the Dorian, Glossa, ASV and Teldec labels.

As a harpsichord player and director of the group he founded, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman has been a regular guest at leading concert halls in Vienna, London, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, Salzburg, Tokyo and Osaka. Between 1994 and 2004 he has conducted and recorded all the existing cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, a massive work for which he has been awarded with the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis "Echo Klassik 1997", the Prix Hector Berlioz, and been nominated for both the Grammy Awards (USA) and the Gramophone Awards. Volume 22 of the Bach Cantatas in 2008 won a BBC Music Magazine Award.

Personnel: Catherine Manson (violin), Ton Koopman (harpsichord)

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Format: Audio CD
Unlike Classic FM-friendly favourites like 'Air on a G String', and the Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1, the Six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin BWV 1014-1019 are little known. Too dark, too astringent, too chromatic. All of which is why any Bach enthusiast worth his or her salt should be intrigued by these other 'black pearls' in Herr Bach's canon.

The performance given by Manson and Koopman is pure class. The recording is pinprick sharp in detail, gorgeously spacious in its 'sound stage', and with a balance that sits plum in the sweet spot. Koopman is wonderfully restrained - there are ornaments and trills galore, but it never feels excessive or showboating (and God knows Koopman is guilty of such musical misdemeanours in the past, what professionals call Lang Lang Syndrome). Indeed, the harpsichord has never sounded so endearing to these ears. Manson meanwhile, a member of the London Haydn Quartet, has effortless technique and the kind of mellifluous tone that could make a HIP convert of Bernard Michael O'Hanlon.

What can you expect? Take BWV 1014. It opens with a harpsichord riffing and then, ingeniously, the violin enters on one long held note that is a crescendo, appearing out of the æther, as if Bach were tuning into the background radiation of the cosmos. The leitmotif here is plangent keening. It is utterly mesmerising. Long held notes, sublime double-stops, and a melody with infinite reach, as searching as a Fibonacci spiral. There is also jollity and rhythmic fervour - you know how Bach likes to mix it up for Affekt, baby!

If you like baroque melancholy and jubilee, superb musicianship, and holding 'infinity in the palm of your hand, eternity in an hour', this disc is a must.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ton Koopman is one of the greatest artists in early music and most in the music of J.S.Bach. Catherine Manson is brilliant partner to Koopman in these Bach sonatas to violin and harpsichord.
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