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Bach: 2 Violin Concertos, Double Violin Concerto - Bernardini / Daniel / Butt

Bach: 2 Violin Concertos, Double Violin Concerto - Bernardini / Daniel / Butt

Linn Records  CKD 519

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Bach: Violin Concertos; Concerto for 2 Violins; Concerto for Violin & Oboe; Sinfonia from Cantata "Ich hatte viel Bekummernis"

Cecilia Bernardini & Huw Daniel (violins)
Alfredo Bernardini (oboe)
Dunedin Consort
John Butt (director)


Dunedin Consort's formidable reputation for performing Bach is set to scale new heights with this highly anticipated recording. Dutch-Italian violinist Cecilia Bernardini takes a break from leader duties as she steps into the spotlight to deliver a virtuoso performance under the direction of Bach specialist John Butt OBE.

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Review by Graham Williams - March 15, 2016

Any new Bach recording from John Butt and the Dunedin Consort needs no encomium, even when, as here, the works under consideration have been recorded countless times by many of the world's greatest violinists.

On this disc the Dutch-Italian violinist Cecilia Bernardini, the current leader of the Dunedin Consort, is the soloist in both the A minor Concerto (BWV1041) and the E major Concerto (BWV1042), while for the Concerto for two violins (BWV1043) she is joined by Huw Daniel another member of the Consort. In all three works Bernardini's playing is accurate and stylish, her articulation in the lively outer movements of these works beyond reproach, but for this listener there is a lack of zest and dynamic contrast in the playing when one compares these performances with those of, for example, Rachel Podger on Channel Classics Bach: 2 Violin Concertos - Podger and Bach: Double & Triple Concertos - Podger. The slow movements also appear over reticent, and one misses the rich expression and depth that Hilary Hahn, in an admittedly quite different style of performance, finds in these sublime compositions. Bach: 2 Violin Concertos, Double Violin Concerto - Hahn/Kahane.

In contrast, there are no reservations about Bernardini's account of the Concerto for violin and oboe (BWV1060R) in which she is joined by her father the excellent oboist Alfredo Bernardini. There is a palpable rapport between father and daughter heard in the marvellous manner in which they respond to each other's phrasing in the concerto's blissful central Adagio. The outer movements are also delivered with a joyful bounce and exhilaration that are missing in the accounts of the two solo concertos.

The other item on the disc is the Sinfonia that opens Bach's Cantata 'Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis'(BWV21). This wonderful discourse between oboe and violin again benefits from the father-daughter partnership of Cecilia and Alfredo Bernardini whose transcendent performance could hardly be bettered.

The Dunedin ensemble used on this recording comprises viola, cello, and violone plus a small ripieno group of four violins and is directed by John Butt who also plays the harpsichord. The timbre of their period sound is faithfully captured by engineer Philip Hobbs in the bright acoustic of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh on Linn's fine multi-channel SACD.

Detailed and scholarly liner notes from John Butt enrich an enjoyable release.

Copyright © 2016 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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