WORKS: Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043; Violin Concertos in A minor, BWV 1041, & in E, BWV 1042; Concerto for Oboe & Violin in C minor, BWV 1060
PERFORMER: Ryo Terakado, Natsumi Wakamatsu (violin), Marcel Ponseele (oboe); Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-961
This new recording from the Bach Collegium Japan contains the three violin concertos by Bach which have been preserved in their original form (BWV 1041-3) and another, for violin and oboe (BWV 1060), which has survived only in a version for two harpsichords and strings. But since Bach has left us arrangements of all four works for one or two harpsichords, it seems probable that BWV 1060 was also originally a work for two melody instruments, the writing suggestive of an oboe with violin.
Though plenty of recordings exist of these concertos played on period instruments, few if any entirely satisfy my sensibilities. Solo violinist Ryo Terakado, who customarily leads the Bach Collegium Japan, perhaps comes as close as any to fulfilling hopes and expectations. His playing in the A minor and E major Concertos is clearly articulated with eloquently shaped phrases – the Andante of the A minor work provides a good instance of these virtues. His tone, furthermore, has a sweetness in the upper register which is all too often lacking in performances by his period instrument rivals. In the D minor Concerto for two violins, Terakado is joined by Natsumi Wakamatsu, another member of Bach Collegium Japan. Their partnership, evenly balanced and animated in the outer movement dialogue, is rewarding, while the lyrical Largo ma non tanto is sensitively played with alluring inflections.
The oboist in the remaining work (C minor) is the Belgian virtuoso Marcel Ponseele. He is one of the finest Bach oboe players around and nowhere here does he disappoint. In short, this version of the violin concertos, as well as that for violin and oboe, is comfortably my first choice. Nicholas Anderson