Beyer and Gli Incogniti in top form with performances of Baroque works

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Anonymous
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: BWV… or not?
WORKS: Violin Sonatas in C, BWV 1024 & in D minor, BWV 1036; Trio Sonata in G, BWV 1038; Fugue in G minor; Suite in A, BWV 1025; Musical Offering – Sonata sopr’il Soggetto Reale; Goldberg: Trio Sonata in C
PERFORMER: Amandine Beyer (violin); Gli Incogniti
CATALOGUE NO: HMM 902322

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This unusual disc is a compendium of works that – for the most part – are not by Bach, but at some stage in their history have been attributed to him. There is some captivatingly lovely music here, regardless of whose signature should be attached to it, and it’s captivatingly playing, too. The anthology is bookended by Bach’s own intricate and graceful arrangements of lute pieces by Silvius Leopold Weiss and the Sonata from The Musical Offering – a work which JS Bach crafted from a theme by the flute-playing King Frederick the Great. Between them, we leaf through a handful of chamber sonatas including the C minor work catalogued as BWV 1024, now bearing a (doubtful!) attribution to Johann Georg Pisendel (the 18th-century’s Paganini), its music roaming from the fiery to the airy. In the Sonata BWV 1038, flute, violin and continuo intertwine in a delightfully galant idiom – probably a result of the intertwining hands of Papa Bach and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel. In turn, the wunderkind harpsichordist who gave his name to Bach’s Goldberg Variations seems to be the author of the C major Sonata posing as BWV 1037 – a delicious confection for two violins in which melismatic swirls of melody decorate fugal and dance- inspired movements.

The six instrumentalists of this international ensemble play with a true entente cordiale, exchanging gracious dialogues and animated conversations. Balance, ensemble and intonation are beautifully judged, and the sound is seductively transparent. In short, fine inauthentic Bach, played in fine authentic style.

Kate Bolton‐Porciatti