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BBC Music Magazine - - Concerto -

Vi­o­lin Con­cer­tos; Con­certo for Two Vi­o­lins in D mi­nor

Shunske Sato (vi­o­lin); Il Pomo d’oro/ Ze­fira Valova (vi­o­lin)

Erato 9029563387 52:15 mins

This new and vi­brant re­lease fea­tures three Bach con­cer­tos for one and two vi­o­lins in their orig­i­nal form, as well as a re­con­struc­tion for vi­o­lin of Bach’s pre­sumed later ver­sion of the piece for harp­si­chord and strings.

Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, re­called that his fa­ther played the vi­o­lin cleanly and pen­e­trat­ingly. Shunske Sato re­flects these qual­i­ties ad­mirably, but there are other virtues, too. ★is con­trol of melodic con­tours is elo­quently sus­tained and he is alive to ex­pres­sive nu­ance, as may be par­tic­u­larly ap­pre­ci­ated in the cen­tral slow move­ments. The rhyth­mic elas­tic­ity of Sato’s phras­ing is fre­quently ef­fec­tive, though I feel that he leans too heav­ily and too long on in­di­vid­ual notes. Stylis­ti­cally, the ges­tures are com­mend­able but they are over-em­pha­sised and rather ir­ri­tat­ing af­ter a while. All these fea­tures of Sato’s play­ing are plen­ti­fully on dis­play in the open­ing move­ment of the E ma­jor Con­certo, where he also pro­vides us with a mi­cro­cosm of his ideas con­cern­ing or­na­men­ta­tion and em­bel­lish­ment.

In the Con­certo for two vi­o­lins, Sato’s di­a­logue with Ze­fira Valova is an­i­mated and evenly ar­gued in the outer move­ments, though the po­etic Largo ma non tanto strikes a some­what pro­saic note. In all, the strings of Il Pomo d’oro give re­spon­sive if at times a shade too beefy sup­port. Ni­cholas An­der­son PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

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