Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Violin Concertos-BWV1041; BWV1042

Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Violin Concertos-BWV1041; BWV1042

Article excerpt

JS Bach [G] Violin Concertos--BWV1041; BWV1042. Solo Violin Partita No 2, BWV1004--Chaconne (arr Mendelssohn, orch Milone). Solo Violin Partita No 3, BWV1006--Gavotte en rondeau (arr Schumann, orch Milone). Orchestral Suite No 3, BWV1068--Air Academy of St Martin in the Fields / Joshua Bell vn Sony Classical [F] 88843 08779-2 (50' * DDD)

Bach on the violin is perhaps the only remaining enclave in the composer's oeuvre where partisan views on equipment and style still concede to individual interpretation. Most recently we have seen how Giuliano Carmignola's infectious 'period' Bach is comfortably accommodated in the mainstream (see below) and how Janine Jansen's self-conscious pluralism never overshadows her tireless spirit of discovery (Decca, 12/13).

Joshua Bell's Bach may start from a slight disadvantage, in that the 'Double'--the usual companion piece to the two solo concertos--is not included, so we have instead selected single movements and the ubiquitous 'Air on a G string'. Yet such is Bell's particular brand of ease with which he mixes traditional sensibility with the lighter articulations and gestures of recent tastes that one is instantly spellbound.

The A minor Concerto (BWV1041) is both urgent and radiantly inflected, the second movement mournfully still, hovering over the timeless blend of warmth and litheness which defines the Academy of St Martin in the Fields' accompaniments. Unerring energy is something of a byword for contemporary Baroque performance, often with a distinct lack of oxygen in the sinews of the lines. …

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