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Retrospect Ensemble - JS Bach Harpsichord Concertos - Fanfare


17 April 2013
Fanfare
Jerry Dubins

Matthew Halls [adds] two recorders to his string quintet for the F-Major Concerto, BWV 1057. Parts for two flùtes à bec are designated in Bach's manuscript, which is not surprising, given that the piece is largely a reworking of the composer's Fourth Brandenburg Concerto. The Retrospect Ensemble is fairly new to the scene. The British group was launched in 2009 with performances of Handel's Jeptha at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, and has since recorded Bach's Easter Oratorio , reviewed by George Chien in 35:1. If the Retrospect Ensemble is capable of expanding beyond its diminutive size on the current recording, it's also capable of shrinking-though not by much, lest it disappear altogether-into a spinoff group called the Retrospect Trio. In that guise, it recorded Purcell's Sonatas in Four Parts, a release reviewed and recommended by Christopher Brodersen in 33:2.

[T]he playing of the Retrospect Ensemble is spot-on from beginning to end. Tempos are brisk but not pressed to the point that compromises articulation or unanimity of bowing and fingering, and the readings are buoyant, energetic, and fresh-sounding. Complemented by Linn's wonderfully clear and transparent multichannel recording, Bach's music shines.

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