JS Bach: Violin Concerto in D minor (reconstructed from MWV 1052);Violin Concerto in G minor, BWV 1056; Violin Concerto in E, BWV 1042; Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041

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COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: Gaudeamus
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach
WORKS: Violin Concerto in D minor (reconstructed from MWV 1052);Violin Concerto in G minor, BWV 1056; Violin Concerto in E, BWV 1042; Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
PERFORMER: Monica Huggett (violin); Sonnerie
CATALOGUE NO: CD GAU 356
Only two of the four violin concertos

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included in Sonnerie’s new disc have

been handed down in their original

form, those in A minor (BWV

1041) and E major (BWV 1042).

There were, though, a great many

more, some of which have survived

in Bach’s own later arrangements

for solo harpsichord(s) and strings,

as indeed is the case with the two

works already mentioned. For

the remaining concertos in her

programme soloist and director

Monica Huggett has chosen

reconstructions of the Harpsichord

Concertos in D minor (BWV 1052),

and G minor (BWV 1056).

This is Huggett’s second

recording of the A minor and E

major Concertos, the earlier one

with the Amsterdam Baroque

Orchestra directed by Ton Koopman

dating back to the mid-1980s.

More recently, there have been rival

versions of these works, along with

others forming different programme

configurations, by Elizabeth

Wallfisch (Virgin Classics), Simon

Standage (Chandos) and Andrew

Manze (Harmonia Mundi).

However, the new issue is the only

one of these not to include the most famous concerto of them all, in D

minor (BWV 1043) for two violins.

Huggett’s violin playing is

characteristically light of tread and

tasteful in matters of embellishment;

and her small ensemble of supporting

players is sympathetic and crisply

responsive to her leadership. Yet not

all goes quite as well as it should

with patches of roughly tuned tutti

playing, especially noticeable in

the opening allegro of the D minor

Concerto. Elizabeth Wallfisch, in

her version with the Orchestra of

the Age of Enlightenment, is more

convincing in this respect, though

her slightly slower tempo and larger

ripieno makes less appeal than

Huggett’s more dance-oriented

approach. Even so, she lacks the

lyricism of Standage and the fantasy

of Manze in the slow movements of

the A minor and E major pieces. A

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difficult choice. Nicholas Anderson