Jeanne Lamon / Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

The Baroque Virtuoso

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This release is not what the title and graphics make it seem, but it's worth having anyway, especially because, as violinist and Tafelmusik leader Jeanne Lamon points out in her enthusiastic and personal notes, early music groups tended in the first years of their existence to record a great deal of music in the hopes of promulgating their then-unique outlook. This album only intermittently features music by Baroque virtuosos, and it devotes a good deal of space to Bach, who was in some respects an anti-virtuoso. Instead, this release is a compilation of the music made since 1990 by Tafelmusik and Lamon, originally recorded for the Sony Classical and Analekta labels. Picked by Lamon herself, the selections on the album can stand as a good selection of Tafelmusik's hits, with a balance between Vivaldi and Bach favorites and the music of lesser-known figures like Schmelzer and Geminiani. The evidence for Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067, as a violin work is pretty slender, but certainly it's not hard to imagine Bach organizing a performance for these forces (and transposing the work to A minor, as Lamon does here). For all of Lamon's talk about how marginalized she and other historical-performance groups were in her early days, she actually played a key role in bringing historically informed performances to wider audiences with these big, sharp readings, and by now she'd be considered something of a middle-of-the-roader. Her style has changed only slightly over the years, and it resembles neither the careful, terraced work of Dutch groups nor the operatic storms of the new Italian generation. Lamon cultivates a lithe, crisp style that admits a fair amount of dynamic variation, and when it works well, as in Vivaldi's "Summer" concerto from the Four Seasons, it doesn't much resemble what anyone else has done. This is, at any rate, a fitting tribute to a truly pioneering career.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Concerto for 2 violins in D minor, BWV 1043
1 3:35
2 6:11
3 4:17
Concerto grosso in C major, op.5/3
4 2:31
5 1:46
6 2:59
7 2:07
8 6:42
Harmonia artificiosa-ariosa: Partia No. 5
9 1:25
10 1:13
11 0:26
12 0:52
13 4:57
Concerto grosso in D minor, op. 2/3
14 2:09
15 2:46
16 1:50
Concerto for violin in G minor, op. 8/2 "Summer"
17 5:25
18 2:09
19 2:59
Suite in A minor for violin & strings, after BWV 1067
20 6:35
21 1:52
22 3:18
23 1:48
24 3:07
25 1:11
26 1:32
blue highlight denotes track pick