Related Reviews
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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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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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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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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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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Audio Video Club of Atlanta
'In one of the most beautiful-sounding releases Linn has ever given us...'
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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 - Fanfare


01 August 2016
Fanfare
Robert Maxham

Violinists Cecilia Bernardini and Huw Daniel, conductor John Butt, and the Dunedin Consort open their program of Bach's concertos for violin with the Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor. In the first movement, Bernardini and oboist Alfredo Bernardini emerge from a particularly silken ensemble sonority-but they don't protrude too far. The performance remains collegial and chamber-like in sound in all three movements, producing an elegant slow movement and a sprightly finale with nary a texture out of place. They give a joyous performance of the first movement of the Violin Concerto in E Major, with Bernardini flashing like quicksilver in the bariolage passagework, her 1713 Camillus Camilli sounding as bright there as it did ingratiatingly smooth in the previous concerto. She and the ensemble hardly linger in the in slow movement and adopt a quick tempo in the finale, realizing much of the movement's potential for gaiety. Their program departs from that of the usual collection of the canonical three concertos for violin and the nearly canonical Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe by including the brief Sinfonia from the cantata Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis-as rich as a concerto in interplay between the oboe and violin, and they invest it with a gravitas and create a mesmeric effect that together justify its conclusion. The first movement of the Violin Concerto in A Minor shares the joie de vivre of their performance of the E-Major Concerto; and their reading of the slow movement, similar to that of the other concerto, gives an impression of profundity free from the least suggestion self-consciousness or mannerism. The ensemble opens the finale with a buoyant skittishness that also infects Bernardini. In the two solo concertos, as in the Double Concerto that opened the program, the solos seem to emerge from the ensemble rather than to ride above it, as early readings by, say, Isaac Stern, used to do (in everything else, so why not in Bach as well, he might have thought?).

Huw Daniel (playing an Alessandro Mezzadri violin from about 1720) joins Bernardini in the Concerto for Two Violins. When Jascha Heifetz recorded the concerto with himself (he later chose his student Erick Friedman as a partner), there could be no question of distinguishing the approaches of the two soloists. Nevertheless, Anne Akiko Meyers also played the work's Largo with herself (Eone 7785, which I reviewed in Fanfare 35:6) but employed two violins, and the resulting differentiation served as both an auditory puzzle and an elevated entertainment. Bernardini's and Daniel's seamless partnership might remind listeners more of Heifetz with Heifetz, with the seamlessness offering a different kind of pleasure and an even greater associated puzzle: Can you-or anyone else-tell at any moment who's on top? Their finely spun texture doesn't fray even in the slow movement-and certainly not in the finale-to betray the soloists' identities. Vice or virtue? Those who consider it a vice may look to less smoothly ironed performances and those who consider it a virtue need look no farther than Bernardini and Daniel-except perhaps to Heifetz and Heifetz. Recommended heartily to the second kind of listeners.


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Related Links

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