Bach: Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052; Violin Concerto in G minor, BWV 1056; Concerto for Violin & Oboe, BWV 1060; Harpsichord Concerto in D, BWV 1054

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052; Violin Concerto in G minor, BWV 1056; Concerto for Violin & Oboe, BWV 1060; Harpsichord Concerto in D, BWV 1054
PERFORMER: Alfredo Bernardini (oboe), Sergio Ciomei (harpsichord); Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45361 2
Three of the four concertos recorded here are modern reconstructions of works whose original versions have been lost, but from which Bach almost certainly drew for his Leipzig-period harpsichord concertos. The fourth piece is his own arrangement for harpsichord and strings of the well-known Violin Concerto in E (BWV 1042). Performances of these and of a handful of other concertos by Bach in their earlier putative, pre-harpsichord concerto versions are becoming increasingly popular with musicians and, by-and-large, their editorial rehabilitation is both convincing and worthwhile. Indeed, if we take the lyrical slow movement of the Concerto in G minor, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto in F minor, we can see how much more convincingly and affectingly a violin can sustain the melody than a harpsichord. Soloist Fabio Biondi, who also directs the ensemble Europa Galante, plays this lovely movement with expressive delicacy, taking much more time over it than is currently fashionable. The most ‘established’ of the present group of reconstructions is the Concerto for Violin and Oboe, which since Max Seiffert’s edition in the early Twenties has become more popular than the surviving source for two harpsichords, on which it is based. Oboist Alfredo Bernardini enters a poetic dialogue with Biondi in its beguiling slow movement. A stimulating if, on occasion, stylistically controversial disc. Nicholas Anderson

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