Wednesday, March 2, 2011

JS Bach: Concertos for 2 Harpsichords - Pinnock, Gilbert, THC

Johann Sebastian Bach
Concertos for 2 Harpsichords
Trevor Pinnock, Kenneth Gilbert, The English Concert
Archiv 415 131-2

These three double-concertos on a single CD are unusually good value simply because the keyboard playing is so satisfying. Such aspects as I don't much care for tend to be Bach's fault. I can't like his arrangement of the Two Violin Concerto for harpsichords. The middle movement is bound to be disappointing, with the soloists unable to sustain the celestial tunes. In the first movement the second subject with its rising leaps of a tenth goes for nothing; for me only the finale is successful in this arrangement. In the C major the contributions from the orchestra lack inevitability, and indeed it has been suggested that Bach originally wrote this marvellous concerto for keyboards alone. I welcomed the lack of orchestral parts in the stow movement which in this performance sounds unusually expressive and beautiful. The C minor also is very good indeed.

I wish the two soloists had been allowed more stereo separation, but the sound is pleasing, and all the keyboard playing magnificent.

Gramophone Magazine

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