Jennifer Koh / Jaime Laredo

Two x Four: Bach, Glass, Clyne, Ludwig

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The two violinists on this release from Chicago's Cedille label, Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo, are student and teacher, respectively, and the listener may enjoy trying to distinguish them on this collection of four pieces for two violins and strings. (The packaging does give an assist.) The concept of the album, a sort of homage, is nice, and the two newly commissioned pieces make it a Festschrift of a sort for Laredo. One of them, David Ludwig's Seasons Lost, is quite a find, and it might be put together with Vivaldi's Four Seasons and/or Piazzolla's Cuatro Estaciones PorteƱos on a program. Ludwig deftly weaves together programmatic evocations of the season, a numerical sequence of concertino groups running from one to four members, and an extramusical consideration: Ludwig mourns the diminishing regularity of the seasons that has occurred with climate change. The album opens with a solid but unremarkable reading of Bach's Concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043, but the other two modern works, Anna Clyne's neo-Romantic Prince of Clouds and Philip Glass', offer a pleasant mix of the contemporary sounds that can be gotten from the basic ensemble. A personal and generally enjoyable document, with one piece that could become a repertory work.

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