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BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
'...for sheer freshness, insight and life-enhancing joy, this newcomer goes to the top of the class...'
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The Sunday Times
' Russell's beautifully polished playing reveals an affecting relish for the music's searching expressivity, while Butt offers shapely, crisply articulated contributions...'
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Buxton Advertiser
'Yet the highlight of the concert was the two Bach sonatas for violin and harpsichord (BWV 1019 and BWV 1015): they really captured the symmetry and the lucidity of the composer. Their joint performance was sustaining and brilliant.'
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Brompton’s Fine & Rare Instruments
' And so it is therefore hardly surprising that such insight and integrity is to be found in the performance of specialists such as Russell and Butt.'
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,,John Butts dynamisches, aber betont kontrapunktisches Cembalo und Lucy Russells flüssiges, vibrato-armes Spiel und der warme Klang ihrer Gagliano-Geige harmonieren dabei exzellent miteinander.''
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Early Music Review
'Here Lucy Russell puts her own stamp on the works, giving a spirited and emotional rendering, and for that this recording is worth investing in.'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’
CD of the Week: 'the recorded sound is very good'
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'This is playing rooted in bulletproof scholarship, but the scrunchiest harmonies and most roguish dance rhythms always win out.'
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John Butt & Lucy Russell - J.S. Bach: Violin and Harpsichord Sonatas - The Strad

14 August 2015
The Strad
Peter Quantrill

The Strad Recommends

Intellectual challenge and a spirit of Empfindsamkeit animate these magnificent new recordings of the sonatas that Bach wrote in his first five years as Kapellmeister in Leipzig. Empfindsamkeit: ‘sensitive style', according to my dictionary, characterised by abrupt switches of mood and rhythm. It gives an unusual flavour to the recording, ?in that the style was more associated with C.P.E. Bach than with his father. Lucy Russell and John Butt take us on a harum-scarum pelt through the final Vivace of the F minor Sonata - will they or won't they finish together? They do, just about; and in the many brief but touching slow movements, the printed parts are treated as a basis for negotiation rather than as a kind of sealed testament.

Unafraid of vibrato and portamento, Russell invests the keening chords of the F minor's Adagio with deep pathos. The G major Sonata is a free-spirited dialogue seemingly invented on the spot, which feels appropriate to its Italianate construction. Perhaps on another day Russell might articulate the first movement's pert fragments of response with a more coquettish restraint, true to the experimental nature of its composition, which Butt's booklet note unravels with scholarly but very readable authority. In the long and elaborate solo that forms the sonata's centrepiece, his playing is as good as his word. Linn's recording is faultlessly balanced: highly recommended.

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