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Retrospect Ensemble - Bach: Harpischord Concertos - Limelight


17 September 2013
Limelight
Warwick Arnold
4 Stars

Bach's keyboard concertos, despite their obscure provenance (all are thought to be arrangements of earlier instrumental concerti), stand tall as the earliest masterpieces of the genre, brimful of contrapuntal invention. As such they offer endless possibilities for imaginative interpreters, yet performances and recordings played on harpsichord are not as common as you might suppose in the era of historically-informed performance practice, and are well outnumbered by those on modern piano.

To overcome the problem of balancing the harpsichord against the standard Baroque string ensemble, the current fashion is to play them one-to-a-part, as recorded here by London's critically acclaimed Retrospect Ensemble with their inspired young leader Matthew Halls. He plays a superb instrument with a robust yet refined tone and inflects the solo part with illuminating details, crisp rhythmic articulation and clever yet tasteful ornamentation.

The ensemble perform with a clean transparent sound and fine intonation... Linn's superbly natural SACD production backed up with comprehensive program notes makes a satisfying package. 


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J.S. Bach: Harpsichord ConcertosJ.S. Bach: Harpsichord Concertos