Bach - Double & Triple Concertos (2013)

Bach

Brecon Baroque, Rachel Podger

For two soloists chose themselves – so-called ‘Bach Double’ (a.k.a. the famous Concerto for TwoViolins in D minor) and the work for violin and oboe. Of course, the universal appeal of the former is unsurpassed with its timelessly beautiful middle movement of exquisite conversations between the two violins, framed by vigorous outer movements. In fact, this piece is a concerto for6 parts, as he himself stated on the manuscript title page ‘Concerto a Sei’ – all parts playing a crucial part in the colour and richness of the ensemble.

Performing these pieces with just single players on each part rather than an orchestra makes the roles of each particularly pronounced and clear, all of us ‘concerto-ing’, not just the conventional ‘soloists’.The other double concerto on this recording has a darker, broader and more dramatic landscape. The contemplative slow movement is the best answer to the question ‘what can I listen to after such a long day’s work?’, its gentle swing and beautiful mellifluous lines soothing any aches and pains. The last movement feels like a gutsy earth-bound ‘clog dance’ full of reels and japes.

The Triple Concerto in A minor is in a world of its own: it’s really a harpsichord concerto to which the colours of the flute and violin are sprinkled – the same scoring as in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no 5. Written about fifteen years after the Brandenburg, Bach adapted the outer movements of the Triple from his Prelude and Fugue, bwv 894, and the slow movement comes from the Organ Trio Sonata, bwv 527. It’s a brilliantly written piece for the harpsichord showing off many novel keyboard tricks with rapid figurations and interesting and engaging ripeno parts.
 
As we know, recycling his own works and adapting them for different purposes and contexts was a common practice for Bach, and it is widely known that his harpsichord concertos all found their musical voice, initially, in versions for other instruments, especially the violin. Such is the case with both these double concertos; for the violin and oboe concerto the only extant source is the two-harpsichord score from the composer’s Collegium Musicum concert series in the 1730s.The scoring of violin and oboe is speculative, albeit rather more than a guess.The Concerto for Three Harpsichords in C major is also believed to have been conceived originally as a Triple Violin Concerto in D major. It’s a treat to play: the richly interweaving lines of the solo instruments providing intensity and exhilaration, whether in conversation or competition. The solo passages take your breath away within the realms of virtuosic writing.Knowing Bach’s writing for violin we can understand his fondness for the instrument,not least the care in exceptional craftsmanship of idiomatic writing for it. It goes well beyond any other baroque composer.
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Brecon Baroque

The dynamic ensemble Brecon Baroque was founded in 2007 by violinist Rachel Podger as resident ensemble at her annual Brecon Baroque Festival. The international line-up consists of some of some of the leading lights in the period-instrument world, such as cellist Alison McGillivray, flautist Katie Bircher, oboist Alexandra Bellamy and violist Jane Rogers, as well as some of Rachel Podger's “star” former students who now occupy leading positions in many of Europe's finest ensembles.

Rachel Podger

Rachel Podger is one of the most creative talents to emerge in the field of period performance. Over the last two decades she has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. She was educated inGermany and in England at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti. After beginnings with The Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium, she was leader ofThe English Concert from 1997 to 2002 and in 2004 began a guest directorship with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with whom she appeared in a televised bbc Prom in 2007.

As a guest director and soloist she has collaborated with numerous orchestras including Arte dei Suonatori (Poland), Musica Angelica and Santa Fe ProMusica (usa), The Academy of Ancient Music, The European Union BaroqueOrchestra, Holland Baroque Society, the Handel and Haydn Society (usa), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (usa). Rachel has toured and recorded extensively with fortepianist Gary Cooper. Rachel records exclusively for Channel Classics and has won numerous prestigious awards including the Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Award for La Stravaganza in2003 and the Diapason d’Or de l’année in the Baroque Ensemble category for the LaCetra Vivaldi concertos with Holland Baroque Society in 2012.

Rachel directs her own ensemble, Brecon Baroque, with whom she has recorded Bach’s Violin Concertos, released in October 2010 to outstanding reviews. She is also Artistic Director of her own festival: the Brecon Baroque Festival. Rachel is an honorary member of both the Royal Academy of Music (where she holds the Michaela Comberti Chair for Baroque Violin) and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (where she holds the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Baroque Violin) and teaches at institutions throughout the world.

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Bach - Double & Triple Concertos (2013)

Bach

Brecon Baroque, Rachel Podger

    Classics Today 10/10

(...) The program’s other works follow in the same manner, the period string instruments–most of them originals or modern copies of 18th-century models–producing a rich, vibrant ensemble timbre, and the performers–some of the world’s finest Baroque specialists–embracing, owning, and, yes, selling this music as if it were today’s latest big thing, brought to us with the same meticulous attention to sound that Channel Classics has maintained since its founding in 1990. Podger, Brecon Baroque, and Channel Classics don’t give us anything earth-shaking or ground-breaking here; that’s not the point. This is simply terrific period-music performance for modern ears that promises nothing less than a solid hour of pleasurable listening–truly the Joy of Bach.

    Audiophile Audition

The works featured here are well known and exceedingly well-performed. (...)We also get a first rate performance of the Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor which Bach adapted from a Concerto for Two Harpsichords. Once again, the recording is crisp, with all instruments clearly defined.(...) this is another superb production by Channel Classics.

Mel Martin

    WQXR

On this album, English violinist Rachel Podger plays Bach's double and triple concertos with her own ensemble, Brecon Baroque, an early-music ensemble named after the town in Wales where she lives. The famous D-minor Concerto BWV 1043 opens the recording with plenty of gusto, warmth and transparency. The Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin in A minor is features some fine playing from members of the ensemble, as does the Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, with its plaintive oboe part. The Concerto for Three Violins caps the album with a rousing D major flourish.

WQXR

    New York Times Critics’ Favorite Classical Recordings of 1013

Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque (Channel Classics). The violinist Rachel Podger leads Brecon Baroque, the ensemble she founded in 2007, in beautifully wrought renditions of Bach concertos for multiple instruments, including the Concerto for Violin and Oboe (BWV 1060R) and Concerto for Two Violins (BWV 1043).

New York Times Critics’ Favorite Classical Recordings of 1013

    Opusklassiek

Dankzij de klein gehouden bezetting mogen we genieten van de daaruit resulterende helderheid en definitie, waar overigens ook de opname stevig aan bijdraagt: we kijken als het ware dwars door het ensemble heen, zonder daarbij het overzicht op het geheel te verliezen.

Opusklassiek

    Hr2-Kultur

Spielerische Präzision, klangliche Transparenz, eine ausgezeichnete Korrespondenz der Spieler untereinander sowie eine einnehmend natürlich wirkende Klangschönheit. Das alles kommt so vollkommen unangestrengt und ungekünstelt daher, als sei Bach zu spielen die einfachste Sache der Welt. (...)

hr2-kultur[read full review]

    Classica - Choc du Mois

ls convainquent par la purité de leur jeu et leurs fines gradations dynamiques. (…) Classica - Choc du Mois

    SA-CD.net -

The resulting transparency of sound and unanimity of ensemble is apparent in every bar of these performances. (…) Competition from rival versions on record in this repertoire is intense, but the vivacity and depth of musical utterance of these performances - allied to a state-of-the-art recording - makes this an irresistible disc and one to be unreservedly recommended. (...) SA-CD.net

    Musical Toronto

Rachel Podger, who made such an impressive Toronto début with Tafelmusik at the start of this past season, brings her special light and grace to Bach’s well-loved double and triple concertos. One of the things that makes this album special is how the ripieno parts (the members of the orchestra backing up the soloists) are also played by single instruments, giving the sound a beguiling lightness and transparency.(...)

    BBC Music -

she manages to achieve a flow that never feels pushed. (…) Podger’s Bach has always been something special: this is indispensable. BBC Music – 5 stars

Bach - Double & Triple Concertos (2013)

Bach

Brecon Baroque, Rachel Podger

Cables:Van den Hul T3 series
Digital Converters:Grimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer:Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment:B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones:Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board:Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer:Jonathan Attwood
Recording Engineer:Jared Sacks
Recording location:London England 2012
Recording Software:Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate:DSD64
Speakers:Audiolab, Holland

Quality & Channel Selection Digitized at DSD64
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34113: Bach - Double & Triple Concertos
01:03:48   Select quality & channels above
Tracks
1.
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor bwv 1043 - Vivace
Bach
00:03:45   Select quality & channels above
2.
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor bwv 1043 - Largo ma non tanto
Bach
00:05:57   Select quality & channels above
3.
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor bwv 1043 - Allegro
Bach
00:04:23   Select quality & channels above
4.
Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin in A minor bwv 1044 - Allegro
Bach
00:08:31   Select quality & channels above
5.
Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin in A minor bwv 1044 - Concerto for Three Violins in D maj
Bach
00:06:01   Select quality & channels above
6.
Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin in A minor bwv 1044 - Alla Breve
Bach
00:06:43   Select quality & channels above
7.
Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor bwv 1060r - Allegro
Bach
00:04:46   Select quality & channels above
8.
Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor bwv 1060r - Adagio
Bach
00:04:28   Select quality & channels above
9.
Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor bwv 1060r - Allegro
Bach
00:03:18   Select quality & channels above
10.
Concerto for Three Violins in D major bwv 1064r - Allegro
Bach
00:06:26   Select quality & channels above
11.
Concerto for Three Violins in D major bwv 1064r - Adagio
Bach
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12.
Concerto for Three Violins in D major bwv 1064r - Allegro
Bach
00:04:26   Select quality & channels above

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