JS Bach: Double & Triple Concertos

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LABELS: Channel Classics
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach: Double & Triple Concertos
WORKS: Concerto for two violins, BWV 1043; Concerto for harpsichord, flute and violin, BWV 1044; Concerto for violin and oboe, BWV 1060R; Concerto for three violins in D, BWV 1064R
PERFORMER: Rachel Podger (violin); Brecon Baroque


To most music lovers, the Concerto BWV 1043 is known simply and affectionately as the ‘Bach double’. No matter that this shorthand could serve several works, including the popular Concerto for oboe and violin also found on this latest instalment in Rachel Podger’s life-enhancing journey through the music of JS Bach. More significantly, BWV 1043’s title page actually announces a ‘concerto a sei’. And the one-to-a-part Brecon Baroque allows those six lines to interact in an impressive discourse. It can be tedious, clichéd even, to insist that ‘less is more’, but here the music emerges with integrated, unaffected and airy naturalness. Podger doesn’t revisit the almost Grappelli-like improvisatory spirit that gilded her Proms performance of the slow movement with Andrew Manze – perhaps wisely, given that a CD is something to be lived with. Despite a faster tempo than Manze’s or Trevor Pinnock’s, however, she still manages to achieve a flow that never feels pushed. Perhaps the slow movement of BWV 1060R could take an ounce more expressive space, but the incisively delivered finale crackles with energy. And in BWV 1064R, the three-violin version here often outshines the surviving three-harpsichord version. Podger’s Bach has always been something special: this is indispensable.


Paul Riley