Monday, January 17, 2011

Bach JS - Concertos for Harpsichord and Strings - St. James Baroque Players







This, though not so described, is in effect Volume 2 and containing the remainder of Bach's seven solo harpsichord concertos. They also represent the continuing sponsorship of Lufthansa, maintained annually in its eponymous Festival of Baroque Music in the church whose name the Players bear—would that all airlines were so enlightened in spending their money. Ivor Bolton is again recorded at just about the right distance, close enough to enable him to be heard with comfort and in realistic balance with the strings. Such balance could be maintained only by artificial (and detectable) means if the orchestra did not play its part attentively enough, but in fact it does so very well indeed and nurses its dynamics with care. True, a few notes are squeezed a little too hard and there are moments of untidiness—but they are few and brief, negligible spots on the fresh faces of the performances. Once again, Pickwick please note: why are we not told the names of the players? They have no need to hide behind anonymity. Ivor Bolton's clean and incisive fingers bring the music to life in these most enjoyable recordings, two discs that, having found their way there, should not gather dust on anyone's shelf. J.D. 



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