Harpsichord Concertos, BWV 1054, 1056 & 1057; Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin, BWV 1044
Il Pomo d’Oro/Francesco Corti (harpsichord)
Pentatone PTC 5186 889 61:36 mins
This is the final instalment of Francesco Corti’s survey of the seven harpsichord concertos in Bach’s autograph. For good measure, he adds to this volume the Triple Concerto in A minor for harpsichord, traverso flute and violin. Corti brings out a wealth of felicitous detail in the solo keyboard writing, generously adding tasteful ornaments if too enthusiastically at times. I also felt some subservient string writing was highlighted in an artificial manner, but the strengths of the performances comfortably outweigh any doubts and disappointments.
Highlights include the briskly jubilant rondo finale of the D major Concerto, more familiar as the E major Violin Concerto (BWV 1042); the unhurried, contemplative account of the F minor Concerto’s poetic Largo and vibrant finale; and the spirited opening movement of the Triple Concerto (BWV 1044). I know of no valid precedent, though, for ending that work with a chord in the major key, as occurs in this performance.
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Il Pomo d’Oro, scaled down to three violins, but otherwise one-to-a-part, is on excellent form and, together with the imaginative gestures of Corti himself, offers a thoroughly engaging programme.
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