WORKS: Concerto in D, BWV 1054; Concerto in G minor, BWV 1058; Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K503
PERFORMER: Sviatoslav Richter (piano); Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto/Yuri Bashmet
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-94245-2 DDD
The two Bach concertos on this disc are the composer’s own transcriptions of works originally for violin, so one can hardly quibble about their performance here on a modern grand. That said, the bright and penetrating sound of Richter’s Yamaha, combined with a rather close recording, give a strangely distorted view of the music, as if the keyboard has been magnified at the expense of the orchestra. Richter’s playing, too, is large-scale and highly serious. Tempi tend to be on the slow side, though the opening Allegro of BWV 1054 is beautifully paced, and the following Adagio has a poetic sobriety without being self-indulgent or Romantically perfumed.
Elsewhere, though, Bashmet fails to maintain any sense of direction: the Allegro assai of BWV 1058 is very turgid, and there are times when the opening movement of the Mozart almost grinds to a halt. The orchestral ensemble is occasionally scrappy, there are abrupt surges in Mozart’s third movement, and the players sound stylistically unsure. Kate Bolton