Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

February 2001

Disc of the Month

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 2 - Stanford

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - February 2001

Label:

Hyperion

Catalogue No:

CDA67208

Discs:

1

Barcode:

0034571172088

Medium:

CD

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 2 - Stanford


Stanford:

Violin Concerto in D major

Suite for Violin and Orchestra


CD

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Special: $11.89

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Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“This is a discovery of major importance. Hubert Parry (no mean critic) regarded Stanford's Violin Concerto as one of his finest works, yet it has been played rarely, if at all, since his death in 1924. One preliminary word of warning though: despite Stanford's reputation as a disciple of Brahms, don't listen to this concerto expecting it to sound Brahmsian. Often enough it does, but when it doesn't it isn't because Stanford has failed to match the quality of his 'model'; far more often it's because he's going his own way, speaking with his own and not a derivative voice.
The very opening of the concerto is a case in point: the soloist's melody is accompanied by a beautifully delicate texture of plucked strings and rippling woodwind. There's nothing quite like it in Brahms; nor is Brahms always so generous with his thematic material as Stanford is in this movement. After that 'first subject' and an extensive and varied 'second subject group', a big and dramatic orchestral tutti leads not to the expected development but to a new and quite splendid theme. There's plenty of room for virtuosity, but very often the display is modified by a pensive quality, a reticence, that's seemingly Stanford's own, and most attractive.
The slow movement is also notable for its individual scoring (very spare at the outset; a magical return of the melancholy opening melody at the end over murmuring tremolando strings) and for its melodic distinction. The sadness of the first theme is again reticent, adding greatly to the eloquence of the heartfelt tutti that leads to the finest theme in the entire work, upon which Stanford lavishes rhapsodic figuration of great beauty.
There's not a player better suited to bringing this concerto back to life than Anthony Marwood.
He easily surmounts its technical demands, but his distinction as a chamber musician enables him to seek out all its quieter subtleties and pensive asides. The Suite is a lesser but still highly entertaining work, an exercise in neo-Baroque designed as a warmly affectionate tribute to Joseph Joachim. Its sheer ingenuity (the first movement, for example, is a combination of sonata form and two sets of interlocked variations) saves it from being a mere exercise, and its melodic freshness from being a mere makeweight to the masterly concerto. First-class orchestral playing, sympathetically conducted, and a recording that's both clean and spacious.”

Editor's Choice

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The Complete Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2001

Building a Library

First Choice - October 2002

Label:

Channel

Catalogue No:

CCS14798

Discs:

2

Barcode:

0723385147985

Medium:

CD
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The Complete Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord


Bach, J S:

Violin Sonata in E minor, BWV1023

Violin Sonata in G major, BWV1021

Sonata for Violin & Harpsichord No. 6 in G major, BWV1019a

Cantabile from Sonata No. 6 version 2 BWV1019a

Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord Nos. 1-6, BWV1014-1019


Rachel Podger (violin), Jonathan Manson (viola da gamba) and Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord)

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$15.75

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Bach: Violin Sonata #6 In G, BWV 1019 - 1. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #6 In G, BWV 1019 - 2. Largo

Bach: Violin Sonata #6 In G, BWV 1019 - 3. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #6 In G, BWV 1019 - 4. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata #6 In G, BWV 1019 - 5. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #1 In B Minor, BWV 1014 - 1. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata #1 In B Minor, BWV 1014 - 2. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #1 In B Minor, BWV 1014 - 3. Andante

Bach: Violin Sonata #1 In B Minor, BWV 1014 - 4. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #2 In A, BWV 1015 - Mvt. 1

Bach: Violin Sonata #2 In A, BWV 1015 - 2. Allegro Assai

Bach: Violin Sonata #2 In A, BWV 1015 - 3. Andante Un Poco

Bach: Violin Sonata #2 In A, BWV 1015 - 4. Presto

Bach: Violin Sonata #3 In E, BWV 1016 - 1. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata #3 In E, BWV 1016 - 2. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #3 In E, BWV 1016 - 3. Adagio Ma Non Tanto

Bach: Violin Sonata #3 In E, BWV 1016 - 4. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata In E Minor, BWV 1023 - 1. Preludio

Bach: Violin Sonata In E Minor, BWV 1023 - 2. Adagio Ma Non Tanto

Bach: Violin Sonata In E Minor, BWV 1023 - 3. Allemande

Bach: Violin Sonata In E Minor, BWV 1023 - 4. Giga

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1021 - 1. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1021 - 2. Vivace

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1021 - 3. Largo

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1021 - 4. Presto

Bach: Violin Sonata #4 In C Minor, BWV 1017 - 1. Largo

Bach: Violin Sonata #4 In C Minor, BWV 1017 - 2. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #4 In C Minor, BWV 1017 - 3. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata #4 In C Minor, BWV 1017 - 4. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #5 In F Minor, BWV 1018 - 1. Largo

Bach: Violin Sonata #5 In F Minor, BWV 1018 - 2. Allegro

Bach: Violin Sonata #5 In F Minor, BWV 1018 - 3. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata #5 In F Minor, BWV 1018 - 4. Vivace

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - 1. Vivace

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - 2. Largo

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - 3. Cembalo Solo

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - 4. Adagio

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - 5. Violino Solo E Basso L'Accompagnato

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - 6. Presto Ab Initio Repetatur Et Claudatur

Bach: Violin Sonata In G, BWV 1019A - Alternate Mvt: Cantabile Ma Un Poco Adagio

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“A recording of Bach's violin sonatas that really hits the spot. Rachel Podger has already attracted much praise for her recordings of the solo violin music, but is heard here to even better advantage in the Six Sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord, BWV1014-19, for which she's joined by Trevor Pinnock.
The two make a fine match. Both are uncomplicated, instinctive musicians with a sure technical command and sound stylistic sense, and in works as robust and complete as these, that's most of the battle already won. But this is also music of great poetry, and, without straining unduly to make their points, Podger and Pinnock bring this out superbly; Pinnock's harpsichord is gently resonant and softly voiced, and Podger coaxes a lyrical flexibility out of her violin, its singing qualities enhanced thanks to a restrained but telling use of vibrato – one which also enables her to play more consistently and blessedly in tune than almost any other Baroque fiddler currently in business.
It's difficult to single out details of this recording for comment; there just seems to be such a tremendous feeling of overall 'rightness' to it.
Maybe the finale of Sonata No 2 seems rather frantic and the wonderful Adagio ma non tanto of No 3 a touch lumpy, but there really isn't much else to criticise. And there are true gems to be enjoyed in the opening movement of BWV1014, where the violin makes an almost imperceptible initial entry, or the warm embrace of BWV1017's Adagio, or practically any of the sparkling fast movements, played with invigorating rhythmic drive and clarity.
This recording's closest period rival, that of Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr, shows a typical wealth of new ideas and inspired moves but is less satisfying as a whole, and suffers from some intonationally hairy moments and a less precisely pointed sound. The only period recording to touch Podger and Pinnock for technical assurance is that of Fabio Biondi and Rinaldo Alessandrini, but in both sound and interpretation it's heavy-handed compared with the spontaneous musicianship and airy texture on display here, and rather meanly it gives the six obbligato sonatas only. Though all the recent recordings of these sonatas have had their merits, this – two discs for the price of one – is, quite simply, the best yet.”

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