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Toccata
'...a lovely interpretation.'
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Classic FM
Classic FM's 20 Best Classical Albums of 2016: 'John Butt and his Edinburgh-based Dunedin Consort play Bach’s music brilliantly, and with Cecilia Bernadini as soloist, their reputation is further enhanced.'
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Concerto
'It is rare to hear a violin in the upper range so golden, in the lower range so dark, almost earthy, and yet always balanced and capable of any desired shade.'
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Limelight Magazine
4½ Stars
'The Grammy-nominated Dunedin Consort is supportive and exuberant accompanying allows Bach's lyricism and wit to sparkle.'
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Fanfare
'They give a joyous performance...'
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The Strad
'Bernardini offers proficient, well-articulated readings of Bach's two solo violin concertos, her buoyant, small-scale orchestral accompaniment spawning light, spruce textures in the outer movements and making inner detail clearly audible.'
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Pizzicato
„Dies ist eine exzellente Bach-CD, der es an nichts mangelt.“
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AllMusic
4½ Stars
'In [Bernardini's] playing you get the virtuoso energy of the contemporary Italian school without the hard edge, and there is a sense of play in her music-making that one senses Bach would have loved...Highly recommended.
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MusicWeb International
'One can simply recommend this disc unreservedly on all musical fronts. These are beautiful and lively performances second to none.'
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Netherlands Radio 4
„CD van de Week” / ”CD of the Week”: „Hun nieuwste opname van Bachs betroemde Vioolconcerten is weer een schot in de roos. De concurrentie is groot bij deze werken maar deze cd valt op als een van de betere uit de catalogus.”
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Classical Music
5 Stars
'The Dunedin Consort's Dutch-Italian leader steps into the limelight for fresh, scrupulously-detailed accounts of the two solo concertos and the double concerto.'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’
'Virtual Wallet' Choice by Kate Molleson: 'I love it!'
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Der Neue Merker
'The soloists have both technical mastery, virtuosity and musicality...a recommendation for lovers of audiophile recordings.'
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Gramophone
'This new disc of Bach concertos has attributes we have come to expect from the Dunedin Consort and Linn, namely neat, stylish and uncomplicated performances in a recording of beautifully judged clarity and resonance.'
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McAlister Matheson Music
'This is music-making of the highest order, vividly captured by Linn's sound engineers.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'Violinist Cecilia Bernardini's bowing is both fluid and crisply detailed in the opening and closing movements of the E major Concerto (BWV 1042). The outer movements of the A minor Concerto (BWV 1041) benefit from her precision and clarity, with intelligent use of dynamics and an ear for the expressive potential of repetition and variation.'
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Daily Mail
4 Stars
Classical Album of the Week
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MusicWeb International
'I very much enjoyed hearing [Bernardini's] contribution to this recording and I need hardly add that she receives first-rate support from John Butt and the other members of the Consort.'
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The Herald Scotland
Interview with Cecilia: '...superb new Dunedin recording of Bach's violin concertos released last week on Linn Records. Her playing is warm and original, lightly virtuosity and deeply musical, healthily eccentric. She digs into her fiddle with an earthy, organic sort of lyricism and a playful conversational spark that has bags of charisma...'
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Classic FM
Album of the Week: 'Two of Bach's solo violin concertos, overflow with intricate and pin sharp detail and the famous, sublime slow movement of Bach's Double Concerto has never been more heartrending.'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’
'This recording has elegance at its heart with Bernardini showing a nice feel for the dynamic contrasts and varied repetitions in the A minor and E major concertos. Two of the highlights are when she is joined by her father, the baroque oboist Alfredo Bernardini, for the C minor Concerto for violin and oboe, and as an extra treat the Sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata No. 21.’
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The Guardian
5 Stars
'There are so many things to marvel at: her husky, shapely tone, her earthy way with rhythm, how she tugs playfully the top of phrases, her ability to dart in and out of ensemble textures and make the whole thing so joyously convivial.'
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Andrew Benson-Wilson Reviews
'This is a spectacular CD from the ever excellent Dunedin Consort and their leader, violinist Cecilia Bernardini, this time in a solo role.'
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Early Music Review
5 Stars
'This is a fabulous recording of some of my favourite music; I have yet to hear a recording by John Butt that is not utterly convincing; with his Dunedins, he has struck gold once again – this goes straight to the top of my pile for rainy days when I need cheering up!'
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Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos - Audio Video Club of Atlanta


01 April 2016
Audio Video Club of Atlanta
Phil Muse

In one of the most beautiful-sounding releases Linn has ever given us (and that's saying a lot) John Butt directs the Dunedin Consort in accounts of the violin concertos of J.S. Bach that crave your attention even in a field that has been gleamed many times before. Relaxed motion, a nice feeling of swing, and the really beautiful sound of the baroque instruments played by the soloists, all contribute to the overall impression of charm allied with sensual beauty.

Besides Butt's sure-handed direction, I am also indebted to him as booklet annotator. The influence of Vivaldi's epoch-making L'Estro Armonico, particularly in his use of ritornello, had never made the impression on me it does here. The purpose of this characteristic Vivaldi device really struck me for the first time in But's analogy from the art of rhetoric, where 'an idea is fully seeded in the opening utterance, which is brought back at regular intervals in slightly different ways, so as to deepen the implications of the main idea and also to generate a sense of overall coherence.' Bach does this supremely well, as the present performances bear out.

The program starts with the Concerto in C minor for Oboe and Vioiln, BWV 1060R, in which Cecilia Bernardini makes beautiful music with her oboist father Alfredo in the gorgeous Adagio movement, which has always struck me as comparable to the exalted lyricism of the famous Largo in Bach's Harpsichord Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056. It is matched by the long lyrical lines of the Adagio in Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042, which ends in a rondo finale in the style of a joyous peasant dance. In the middle of the program we have the Sinfonia to Cantata BWV 21, of which the most memorable feature is the languid oboe melody whose poignancy is the perfect correlative for the cantata's text, 'Ich hatte viel bekümmernis' (I had much sorrow).

The Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 follows next. In the Andante, Bach uses an ostinato pattern in the bass to focus the harmonic relation-ships. Then he really cuts loose in the finale, whose rhythm and meter are those of a Gigue ('jig' to you). Here, Bernardini distinguishes herself in the bariolage figures, the alternation between melody and static notes that lends a decided swing to the music. In the Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, the most dazzling moments are reserved for the finale, its dramatic incidents and textures bound up by an irresistible, forward-driving momentum. That, too, shows Vivaldi's influence on Bach. 


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Cecilia BernardiniCecilia Bernardini
Dunedin ConsortDunedin Consort
John ButtJohn Butt
J.S. Bach: Violin ConcertosJ.S. Bach: Violin Concertos