Bach – Double & Triple Concertos
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For two soloists chose themselves – so-called ‘Bach Double’ (a.k.a. the famous Concerto for TwoViolins in D minor) and the work for violin and oboe. Of course, the universal appeal of the former is unsurpassed with its timelessly beautiful middle movement of exquisite conversations between the two violins, framed by vigorous outer movements. In fact, this piece is a concerto for6 parts, as he himself stated on the manuscript title page ‘Concerto a Sei’ – all parts playing a crucial part in the colour and richness of the ensemble.
Performing these pieces with just single players on each part rather than an orchestra makes the roles of each particularly pronounced and clear, all of us ‘concerto-ing’, not just the conventional ‘soloists’.The other double concerto on this recording has a darker, broader and more dramatic landscape. The contemplative slow movement is the best answer to the question ‘what can I listen to after such a long day’s work?’, its gentle swing and beautiful mellifluous lines soothing any aches and pains. The last movement feels like a gutsy earth-bound ‘clog dance’ full of reels and japes.
The Triple Concerto in A minor is in a world of its own: it’s really a harpsichord concerto to which the colours of the flute and violin are sprinkled – the same scoring as in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no 5. Written about fifteen years after the Brandenburg, Bach adapted the outer movements of the Triple from his Prelude and Fugue, bwv 894, and the slow movement comes from the Organ Trio Sonata, bwv 527. It’s a brilliantly written piece for the harpsichord showing off many novel keyboard tricks with rapid figurations and interesting and engaging ripeno parts.
As we know, recycling his own works and adapting them for different purposes and contexts was a common practice for Bach, and it is widely known that his harpsichord concertos all found their musical voice, initially, in versions for other instruments, especially the violin. Such is the case with both these double concertos; for the violin and oboe concerto the only extant source is the two-harpsichord score from the composer’s Collegium Musicum concert series in the 1730s.The scoring of violin and oboe is speculative, albeit rather more than a guess.The Concerto for Three Harpsichords in C major is also believed to have been conceived originally as a Triple Violin Concerto in D major. It’s a treat to play: the richly interweaving lines of the solo instruments providing intensity and exhilaration, whether in conversation or competition. The solo passages take your breath away within the realms of virtuosic writing.Knowing Bach’s writing for violin we can understand his fondness for the instrument,not least the care in exceptional craftsmanship of idiomatic writing for it. It goes well beyond any other baroque composer.
Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Pyramix bij Merging
London England 2012
Rens Heijnis custom design
B&W 803 diamond series
Grimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
van den Hul T3 series
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Classics Today 10/10
(…) The program’s other works follow in the same manner, the period string instruments–most of them originals or modern copies of 18th-century models–producing a rich, vibrant ensemble timbre, and the performers–some of the world’s finest Baroque specialists–embracing, owning, and, yes, selling this music as if it were today’s latest big thing, brought to us with the same meticulous attention to sound that Channel Classics has maintained since its founding in 1990. Podger, Brecon Baroque, and Channel Classics don’t give us anything earth-shaking or ground-breaking here; that’s not the point. This is simply terrific period-music performance for modern ears that promises nothing less than a solid hour of pleasurable listening–truly the Joy of Bach.
The works featured here are well known and exceedingly well-performed. (…)We also get a first rate performance of the Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor which Bach adapted from a Concerto for Two Harpsichords. Once again, the recording is crisp, with all instruments clearly defined.(…) this is another superb production by Channel Classics.
On this album, English violinist Rachel Podger plays Bach’s double and triple concertos with her own ensemble, Brecon Baroque, an early-music ensemble named after the town in Wales where she lives. The famous D-minor Concerto BWV 1043 opens the recording with plenty of gusto, warmth and transparency. The Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin in A minor is features some fine playing from members of the ensemble, as does the Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, with its plaintive oboe part. The Concerto for Three Violins caps the album with a rousing D major flourish.
Dankzij de klein gehouden bezetting mogen we genieten van de daaruit resulterende helderheid en definitie, waar overigens ook de opname stevig aan bijdraagt: we kijken als het ware dwars door het ensemble heen, zonder daarbij het overzicht op het geheel te verliezen.
New York Times Critics’ Favorite Classical Recordings of 1013
Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque (Channel Classics). The violinist Rachel Podger leads Brecon Baroque, the ensemble she founded in 2007, in beautifully wrought renditions of Bach concertos for multiple instruments, including the Concerto for Violin and Oboe (BWV 1060R) and Concerto for Two Violins (BWV 1043).
Classica – Choc du Mois
she manages to achieve a flow that never feels pushed. (…) Podger’s Bach has always been something special: this is indispensable.
BBC Music – 5 stars
Rachel Podger, who made such an impressive Toronto début with Tafelmusik at the start of this past season, brings her special light and grace to Bach’s well-loved double and triple concertos. One of the things that makes this album special is how the ripieno parts (the members of the orchestra backing up the soloists) are also played by single instruments, giving the sound a beguiling lightness and transparency.(…)
Spielerische Präzision, klangliche Transparenz, eine ausgezeichnete Korrespondenz der Spieler untereinander sowie eine einnehmend natürlich wirkende Klangschönheit. Das alles kommt so vollkommen unangestrengt und ungekünstelt daher, als sei Bach zu spielen die einfachste Sache der Welt. (…)
The resulting transparency of sound and unanimity of ensemble is apparent in every bar of these performances. (…) Competition from rival versions on record in this repertoire is intense, but the vivacity and depth of musical utterance of these performances – allied to a state-of-the-art recording – makes this an irresistible disc and one to be unreservedly recommended. (…)
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