Janine Jansen

Bach: Concertos

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A star of Janine Jansen's status and influence could have a major orchestra accompany her in Bach's violin concertos, but she chooses instead to keep her hand-picked ensemble small and intimate, and enjoys the camaraderie of a chamber group. Indeed, the assembly of friends who join Jansen in the Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042; Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041; and Concerto for violin and oboe in C minor, BWV 1060, number no more than 12 players, and includes her brother Maarten Jansen on cello and her father, Jan Jansen, on harpsichord, as well as her touring colleague, oboist Ramón Ortega Quero. Such familiarity yields music of considerable verve and spontaneity, and wherever Jansen leads her musicians, they are quick to follow. Jansen's tempos are brisk and her energy buoys the music in the Allegros, and she keeps the pulse moving forward in the slow movements. She also maintains a propulsive feeling in her performances of the sonatas for harpsichord and violin, BWV 1016 and 1017, and if the intimacy of chamber music was implied in the concertos, the communication between Jansen and her father is open and direct here. Jansen offers a personally expressive and richly colored tone, and though she doesn't attempt to play in period style, the gorgeous sonorities she draws from her Stradivari are well worth the trade-off. Decca's recording is clean and vibrant, with enough background resonance to give the music a sense of space.

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