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on 24 January 2010
I bought this disc on the strength of Rachel Podger playing in it but was disappointed. Some historically informed performances seem to be based on the principle "the faster the better", and this is one of them unfortunately. Mr. Manze makes the orchestra and poor Ms. Podger race through these works as if they are late for a flight they absolutely need to catch. The result is lots of virtuosity and energy but to no other effect than one-dimensional performances that don't convey any of contrasts beteen depth and playfulness, or between tension and relaxation that characterise good Bach performances. This disc is about as enjoyable as .... yes, being in a rush to catch a flight you are late for.
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on 29 June 2013
Its hard to be negative about these concertos but that said, i thought that it didnt have the clarity that one can hear in the performances by the Scottish National Orchestra which i would recommend above this.And i have to agree with a previous critic when they say that the pace just rattles along!At the risk of sounding pretentious , I thought it could have more nuancing but thats just personal and I,l still listen to it with pleasure.
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VINE VOICEon 7 February 2008
No-one can be sure exactly how many violin concertos Bach wrote. His concerto output consists of several works written for certain instruments, then re-arranged for others. The established canon of his concertos for violin is limited to those in E and a for solo violin, and a concerto for two violins in d. This CD features another double concerto in d, more usually heard in one of two guises: for two harpsichords in c or for violin and oboe in d.

To begin with the last concerto. I suspect that Bach originally conceived this work for harpsichords (although, again, no-one can be entirely sure, with so many original manuscripts now lost). The dramatic statement that forms the succinct opening opposes orchestral ritornello with the briefest of responses from soloists. The intended contrast is intensified by having completely different timbres of strings and keyboard. What is clear, however, is that as well as being a fine Baroque soloist, Andrew Manze is something of a musicologist. His own accompanying notes show a keen interest in Bach scholarship and he defends his decision to transpose (or 'restore', as he would say) the work up to d for this version for two violins.

Manze's style is highly individual. Some of his chords sound remarkably rustic. He uses the minimum vibrato. Moreover, he is not afraid to decorate the solo concertos - a practice that may irritate as many listeners as it satisfies. He usually reserves these elaborations for recapitulations, however, and defends his embellishments on the basis of Bach's own practice elsewhere. These decorations range from the minimal grace notes at the end of the opening Allegro of BWV1043 to the more extensive interventions in the first Allegro of BWV1042. Conservatively-minded listeners may want to look elsewhere but I find his practices, although verging at times on the overdone, both satisfying and justified.

The Academy of Ancient Music provide a competent supporting role, if a somewhat pared down one, with two desks of violins each for 1st and 2nd fiddles, a pair of violas and cellos, double bass and harpsichord. There is no place for lutes or theorboes, therefore.

Manze is always worth listening to in word and deed, and nowhere more so than here in this recording of exceptional music.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 November 2013
The problem with buying any established classical work is that there multiple versions available of different vintages and stylistic orientation. Therefore trying to buy a single 'definitive' version, especially of pieces such as the Bach violin concertos is going to be an easy task. So whilst this is a very entertaining and creditable take on the violin concertos it isn't the last word on the subject either.

This disc features performances that are sprightly, lean and expressive. This Bach without the stuffiness. This is Bach that lifts the spirits. It all sounds so fresh and approachable; making it the sort of program that many listeners will want to return to, time and again. The soloists, Andrew Manze and Rachael Podger for all their brio still have time for nuance and feeling. The orchestra, perhaps a little 'light' and recessed in terms of recording for some tastes provide sterling support.

I like this disc- the soloists and orchestra play with pace and engagement, the recording is detailed and captures the energy of the performance and this is an overall feeling that there is some great music making going on, here. Recommended.
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on 14 June 2014
This is an excellent recording of performances which are engaging, brilliant and hugely entertaining. There is no mistaking the delight and coherence in the communication between the two exceptionally able principal players in the double violin concertos. What more could anyone want? These are performances which delight the listener as much on the nth rendition as the first.
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on 20 December 2016
Brilliant Love every minute.
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on 7 December 2015
Excellent performances with thought provoking interpretations. Good recording quality throughout. Would recommend.
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on 29 October 2015
Wonderful artistic performance, wonderful CD sonic performance.
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on 9 August 2015
Fine performances of great personality.
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on 15 January 2015
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