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I fear, however, that these ones will not make much headway against the likes of Andrew Manze and Rachel Podger on the one hand, or Trevor Pinnock and Andreas Staier on the other (to name only some of the period-instrument rivals). True, they have the ideas to make them distinctive – the odd bit of unexpected articulation or rhythmic definition from Mira Glodeanu, some freewheeling ornamentation from Frédérick Haas in the slow movement of the D minor (BWV1052), and a generally bold approach to rhetorical timing and structural delineation – but overall they are rather hard to love. For that the sound must carry some of the blame; though recorded in a church, the balance is dry, with a closeness on the six string players that does little to flatter their intonation and blend, and denies comfort to the ear.
the frequent small hesitations and snatches at pulse and phrasing are also more
irritating than thought-provoking, and there are times such as the middle
section of the first movement of the E major Harpsichord Concerto (BWV1053) when
the momentum simply seems to be running out. Unfortunately, such moments
outweigh the better ones, such as the air of concentration conjured up by
Glodeanu in the slow movement of the E major Violin Concerto (BWV1042) or the
brusque energy of the first movement of the A minor (BWV1041). Sad to say, two
discs containing better performances of these individual works would still make
better value than this one of them all.
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