JS Bach: Violin Concertos

By Freeman-Attwood, Jonathan | Gramophone, November 2015 | Go to article overview

JS Bach: Violin Concertos


Freeman-Attwood, Jonathan, Gramophone


JS Bach

Violin Concertos--BWV1041: BWV1042; BWV1052R; BWV1055R; BWV1056R

Alina Ibragimova vn Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

Hyperion (F) CDA68068 (69)' * DDD)

In all likelihood, Bach composed 20 or more violin concertos, mainly at Weimar and Cothen, and yet tantalisingly we are left with only two works for a single soloist more often than not joined at the hip with the celebrated 'Double'. The fashion these days is to return to Bach's own transcriptions for keyboard as a repository for some speculative reworkings, and this approach inspires Alina Ibragimova's varied, committed and poised readings of five solo concertos.

Defining the landscape is Jonathan Cohen's elegant and spontaneously coloured palette summoned from Arcangelo, heard so startlingly in a fine Mass in B minor last year (11/14) and now redeployed to provide a sensuous 'period' accompaniment to Ibragimova's style-aware modern playing. How far we have come in blurring the boundaries of previously polarised Baroque performing traditions.

If Ibragimova is occasionally caught between two stools in whether (or not) to follow her instincts, the best performances are brazenly alive, responsive and unselfconscious, underpinned by the soft-grained luxuriance of the lute continuo (note the assuaging sweet-and-sour hues of the slow movements of both the A minor and E major concertos, BWV1041 & 42) and a highly modulated use of dynamics. …

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