Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord

Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord

Article excerpt

JS Bach

Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV1014-1019

Lucy Russell vn John Butt hpd

Linn [B] [2] CKD433 (85' * DDD)

Linn's fast-building accumulation of core Baroque repertory continues here with the sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord, six wondrous works which never stop giving. The label's leading Bach man, John Butt, joins Lucy Russell, leader of the Fitzwilliam Quartet and a sometime leader of several British Baroque ensembles, in performances that may appear at first to be unassuming in the light of the big names who have already recorded these pieces, but actually have much to offer that is refreshing.

Russell says in the booklet that she wants to find 'Bach the Man ... to abandon reverence, to explore "colour", and to burrow deeply into the emotional nature of the music as well as to find and highlight Bach's good humour and quirkiness'. These are words that could ring alarm bells for those to whom it suggests gratuitous over-interpretation, but in fact Russell and Butt's readings are neither intrusively gimmicky nor cloyingly romantic. Russell does not attempt to seduce the listener by hiding the 'Baroque' nature of her violin, which is slightly wiry, even acid on occasion, but also clear, in tune (not all her rivals have been! …

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