Bach to Parker
Works by JS Bach, Muhly, Meredith, Borenstein, Campbell et al
Thomas Gould (violin)
Champs Hill Records CHRCD 078
Thomas Gould’s commitment to composers of his generation is impressive. It was possibly a mistake, though, to begin a disc with Bach’s Chaconne in D minor, a mighty hard act to follow. I imagine his original recital programme, in which new works were dispersed among movements from Bach Partitas, made for a better listen.
The title Bach to Parker is also rather misleading: we start with an absorbing, if slightly hard-edged, performance of the Bach Chaconne, end with Miles Davis’s Donna Lee, and in between come contemporary works. Some of these refer directly to the Baroque model, such as Nimrod Borenstein’s lavish ‘romantic’ Baroque Quasi una cadenza, and Aziza Sadikova’s punchy deconstruction La Baroque. Dai Fujikura’s Kusmetche is a finely-crafted gem, while Anna Meredith’s provocative Charged suppresses and explodes energy to great effect. In Nico Muhly’s seductive A Long Line the solo line gradually intensifies over electronic chord drones, more successfully than in Mark Bowden’s Lines written a few lines below in which a menacing track of recorded sounds from London’s Underground provides a dynamic, urban backdrop; here the violin’s improvisatory-style line disappoints. BoBop by John Hawkins doesn’t quite take off, but Donna Lee has an insouciant zest, and releases real suppleness in Gould’s playing.