COMPOSERS: JS Bach
WORKS: Violin Concertos: in A minor, BWV 1041; in E, BWV 1042; Concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043; Concerto for oboe and violin in
PERFORMER: Julia Fischer, Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Andrey Rubtsov (oboe); Academy of St Martin in the Fields
CATALOGUE NO: 479 0650
Readers who have enjoyed Julia Fischer’s unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas by Bach (Pentatone) will be eagerly anticipating the programme offered by this new release. Fischer strikes my ears as being an intuitive Bachian. Her phrasing is elegant and she has an unerring feeling for Bach’s broad architectural melodic contours. Indeed, we have only to listen to the second and third movements of the A minor Concerto to discover just how engaging a Bach player she is. Fischer eschews anything that might smack of self-indulgence or vacuous showmanship and nothing gets in the way of her direct communication with her audience. The Academy of St Martin in the Fields proves a responsive partner and complements her playing with a lively sense of style.
Hilary Hahn (Universal) and Daniel Hope (Warner) are both lively Bach players yet neither manages to discover in the music quite as much poetry as Fischer who, unlike Hope, never risks over-embellishment. These are lyrical performances, gently articulated, and wonderfully free from celebrity-style ego. In addition to the three Violin Concertos that have been preserved in their original form – Fischer is pleasingly partnered by Alexander Sitkovetsky in the D minor Concerto for two violins – the disc includes the C minor Concerto for oboe and violin. Here Andrey Rubtsov sustains the music with eloquent inflexions and a feeling for dialogue. Nicholas Anderson