There is no shortage of good Bach violin concerto recordings, nor even of those played by historical-performance groups, yet this one has several distinct attractions. First, is simply the presence of violinist Kati Debretzeni, long a violin section leader of Gardiner's English Baroque Soloists but rarely heard as a soloist in her own right. She's one of the few historical-performance specialists to have emerged from Eastern Europe, and she deserves wider exposure. Second, are her two arrangements of harpsichord concertos (assisted in the case of the Violin Concerto in D minor, after the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1052, by Wilfried Fischer), competently done and really adding viable violin concertos to the Bach repertory. Third, the ensemble size of about a dozen is ideal. Lastly, is the overall shaping of the pieces, and here Gardiner deserves a good deal of credit: everyone would have been fine if he had stayed in his usual comfortable groove, but here he responds nicely to a younger player with something to say. Debretzeni is terrific, standing up to Gardiner's warm sound with sharp, penetrating lines and then mellowing in the slow movements into a real Italianate lyricism. Although the St. Jude's Hampstead church sound is uninspiring, this is a very fine group of Bach violin concertos.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Violin Concerto BWV 1041 in A minor|
|Violin Concerto after BWV 1053 in D major|
|Violin Concerto BWV 1042 in E major|
|Violin Concerto, after BWV 1052 in D minor|