Bach/Handel/Vivaldi

COMPOSERS: Bach/Handel/Vivaldi
LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
ALBUM TITLE: Bach/Handel/Vivaldi
WORKS: Concerto in D minor for Two Violins Concerto Grosso in G, Op. 6/1; Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op. 6/10; Concerto in B flat for Two Violins, RV524; Concerto in B flat for Oboe & Violin, RV548
PERFORMER: Rachel Podger (violin), Frank de Bruine (oboe); Academy of Ancient Music/Pavlo Beznosiuk (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: WH Live 0005
It’s good that London’s premiere chamber venue has joined in the proliferation of live recordings, especially with a production at this high level: an indication of the healthy state of Baroque performance today. The Handel G major Concerto Grosso gets the disc off to lively start, and there’s real joy in the playing, with sharp phrasing from the whole ensemble, and imaginative but never overloaded continuo playing. In the Vivaldi Double Concerto the fluidity of the interplay between Beznosiuk and Podger is pointed up beautifully by the stereo separation in the recording, and if there’s the odd imprecision of ensemble, or slightly out-of-tune note, they’re more than compensated for by the spontaneity of the performances.

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There’s so much variety of sound, including some ravishing archlute playing in the darker moments of the Handel D minor Concerto, that the bold entry of the oboe in the second Vivaldi concerto was a sudden reminder that I’d been listening only to strings up until then. And the Bach Double Concerto has time for sensitive rubato, even in the vigorous outer movements. More than a souvenir of a great night out at the Wigmore – a pity that the applause after each piece has been curtailed.

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Martin Cotton