Bach Violin Concertos

Playing that really fizzes: there's no disguising the spirit of the dance here

Author: 
Rob Cowan

Bach Violin Concertos

  • Concerto for Violin and Strings
  • Concerto for 2 Violins and Strings
  • Concerto for Violin and Strings
  • (6) Brandenburg Concertos, No. 5 in D, BWV1050 (hpd, vn, fl & stgs: 1720-21)

First impressions suggest a high-energy, tightly accented approach, “period”-schooled while retaining an element of modern-instrument intensity, mostly in the slow movements. Daniel Hope sees to it that the bass-line is firm and prominent, which tends to underline the sense of urgency. The Double Concerto’s Largo focuses two well matched players responding to, rather than mirroring, each other, invariably with one using more vibrato than the other. Outer movements are fast and buoyant (the A minor’s gigue-allegro really whizzes along) and in the E major, Hope whirls into the first movement’s second idea like a dervish possessed. Embellishment is legion, both along the solo line and in the discreetly balanced but lavishly stated continuo. The results approximate, more than usual with this music, dance models of the day, yet Hope always allows the slower music to breathe.

Plenty of air around the notes in the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, too, the way the cellos unexpectedly come to the fore at 2'42", adding extra body to the overall texture. Again the spirit of the dance is all-pervasive, but come the solo harpsichord cadenza, although Kristian Bezuidenhout plays brilliantly (I like the way he accelerates his way back towards the tutti’s return, from 8'15"), I wasn’t sure about his intrusive bending of tempo. This sort of approach has become fairly popular: Rinaldo Alessandrini’s Award-nominated set of Brandenburgs for Naïve is similarly individualistic. In most other respects this is a refreshing, often enlightening programme, very well recorded.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018