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  Channel Classics -
  CCS SA 30910
  Bach: Violin Concertos - Podger, Brecon Baroque
  Bach: Violin Concertos BWV 1041, 1042 & 1055

Rachel Podger (violin)
Brecon Baroque
Track listing:
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Reviews: 2
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Site review by Castor October 2, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is the second time that Rachel Podger has recorded two of Bach’s most popular works, the Violin Concertos in A minor BWV 1041 and E minor BWV1042. The earlier version on the Harmonia Mundi label with the Academy of Ancient Music, that I have not heard, was criticised by contributors to this site for its disappointing sound quality. There are certainly no such criticisms likely to be made about Podger’s latest recording, thanks to the outstandingly realistic sound achieved by Jared Sacks in the clean acoustic of St John the Evangelist Church, Upper Norwood London.

In addition to the familiar concertos listed above we are also given two works more often performed as harpsichord concertos but here transcribed to produce two ‘new’ violin concertos.
BWV 1056 may well have once existed as a violin concerto, and its slow movement is to be found in the Sinfonia to Bach’s Cantata BWV156 ‘Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe’. The provenance of BWV1056 is rather more vague, and it has been suggested that it was once a concerto written for oboe d’amore. Be that as it may, both these delightful transcriptions are to be welcomed, particularly when given such joyful and spirited performances as here by Rachel Podger.

On this new recording she is joined by members of her own stellar period instrumental group, the Brecon Baroque that she founded in 2007. It comprises some of the most distinguished players in the world of period performances at the present time. It is important to point out that these are one-to a-part performances and though some may miss the greater sense of scale found in versions using a larger body of strings, the gain in clarity of each of the instrumental parts and the perception of the musicians’ cohesion more than compensates for mere numbers of players.

Podger’s playing in all four works on this disc is quite lovely with brisk but never hectic tempi in the outer movements and a wonderful sense of repose and faultless legato in the slow movements. (Just try the slow movement of BWV 1056 track 8 to experience this).

This SACD definitely deserves a top recommendation for both sound and performance.

Copyright © 2010 Graham Williams and

Review by analogue November 2, 2010 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The sound of channel classics sacd's have become much better in recent years because of a new hardware addition. This has made all the difference in the world and offers a real sound improvement on their recordings. And the quality of their house sound has become most excellent.

The music on this Bach disc is very meditative and relaxing. And because of the new analogue to digital converter the presence of the music is felt all the more. The sound is very beautiful and involving. Strings are rendered very nicely and emotionally. The listener gets lost in the music for the entire duration of the disc. There is a very vibrant and realistic and warm soundfield of truly beautiful music found here. The listener can feel the musicians behind the music creating their art.

Highly recommended and kudo's to Channel Classics for taking the time and care to make their sacd's sound so much better than they previously have. I noticed the difference in quality right away.
I admire a music label that considers to improve the quality of their recordings so that us listeners and purchasers of sacd's can better appreciate the musical event.

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Works: 4  

Johann Sebastian Bach - Harpsichord Concerto No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055
Johann Sebastian Bach - Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056
Johann Sebastian Bach - Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
Johann Sebastian Bach - Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042