Nemanja Radulović and Tijana Miloević perform works for violin and viola by JC Bach and JS Bach

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: JC Bach,JS Bach
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: JC Bach * JS Bach
WORKS: JS Bach: Double Violin Concerto in D minor; Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Partita No. 3 – Gavotte; Violin Concerto in A minor; Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D – Air; Partita No. 2 – Chaconne; JC Bach: Viola Concerto in C minor (arr. H Casadesus)
PERFORMER: Nemanja Radulović (violin, viola); Tijana Miloević (violin); Double Sens; Les Trilles du Diable
CATALOGUE NO: DG 479 5933

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About 20 seconds in, I stopped this CD and restarted it, convinced it had gone onto fast-forward. But no. Is this possibly the fastest account of the Bach Double Concerto in the history of sound?

Unfortunately it’s symptomatic. While the central movements of this and the A minor Violin Concerto are played beautifully, tempos elsewhere can leave you gasping for breath. Even Nemanja Radulović seems to find the A minor’s last movement overpressed, as his natural lyricism sometimes slows things up slightly. An enjoyable viola concerto, attributed to JC Bach and arranged by Henri Casadesus, is played with aplomb, yet verges on the aggressive, its mild points feeling yelled rather than spoken.

The substantial pieces are interspersed, playlist-shuffle style, with shorter ones: a very well played and colourful Gavotte from the E major Partita and arrangements by Aleksandar Sedlar of the Air from the Suite No. 3, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor and, finally, the D minor Chaconne. The orchestration makes an indigestible meal of this final masterpiece, pointing up the dramatic highs and lows of its structure with unexpected rhythmic interjections and long orchestral tremolandos. But I am sure it will be someone’s cup of tea.

Radulovic can certainly deliver, as can his second violinist Tijana Miloević and their accomplished orchestras, Double Sens and Les Trilles du Diable. There’s no doubting his virtuoso abilities and his tone is beautiful in the slow(er) movements, eloquent yet never heavy. He’s celebrated for his ‘charisma’ and ‘youth appeal’, which is fine. But his idiosyncratic approach often interposes itself uncomfortably between the composer and the listener.

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Jessica Duchen