Bach 2 The Future, Vol. 2

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: Champs Hill Records
ALBUM TITLE: Bach 2 The Future, Vol. 2
WORKS: Sutton: Arpeggiare Variations; Ysaÿe: Solo Violin Sonata No. 3 (Ballade); Beamish: Intrada e Fuga; JS Bach: Solo Violin Sonata No. 3 in C; Maxwell Davies: Sonatina for Violin Alone; Stravinsky: Elégie; Sibelius: En glad musikant
PERFORMER: Fenella Humphreys (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: CHRCD 118

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Last year, I enthusiastically welcomed this project’s first volume. This sequel is also impressive, both in the quality of the playing and the variety of music. Sutton’s Variations uses arpeggiated figures, its intensity matched by Humphreys’s strong, focused playing, especially in the lento movement. In Ysaÿe’s Third Sonata she yields nothing to the finest recordings in her accuracy and passion, the recording capturing the full range of her tone in a rich but not over-resonant acoustic.

In Beamish’s Intrada, a meditative piece with a folk-like insistence on a drone note, double stops are immaculately delivered, as they are in the complex textures of the Fuga, which augurs well for the second movement of the Bach, one of his most elaborate and extended fugues. There’s a little strain in some of the thicker textures, but the music always has direction and stays close to its dance roots, and the slow movements have an alluring flexibility. Modelled on the Bach Sonata, Maxwell Davies’s Sonatina, one of his last works, is an extended single movement, much of it elegiac though with some characteristic Scots inflections; again Humphreys finds the dance feel in the faster sections. Its involving 11-and-a-half minutes lead naturally to the veiled, muted sounds of Stravinsky’s Elégie, before the Sibelius bonne bouche.

Martin Cotton

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Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.