I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Bach: Harpsichord Concertos

I feel old, having seen two generations of the AAM record the harpsichord concerti of Bach, and too the violin concerti. The AAM has taken the world stage under the direction of violinist Andrew Manze. This 2-CD set offers Bach’s single harpichord concertos and the triple concerto featuring Richard Egarr on cembalo with a one-per-part AAM plus lute continuo. Andrew Manze leads the Academy of Ancient Music with soloist Richard Egarr in Bach’s Harpsichord Concerti and Triple Concerto, BWV 1044 on Harmonia Mundi France (p) 2002. AAM and Egarr perform Bach Harpsichord Concerti This recording is well done—the performances are shaped, clean, and respectable, however they fall short of what they could be with the care of more imagination, speed, and daring. Pinnock and the English Concert offer a good comparison (and I have them in my collection, with ever so slightly more quick tempi which really make a profound differerence). That's what I had to say in April '03. And after listening to this collection (for the quality of the music, over the performance) I have a few things to add. * Egarr's a great harpsichordist. I am not sure his instrument is first-rate for my taste, but if you listen closely and intently, he's got some nice nuance to his playing. * It's not so much always about tempo that I have my beef with the orchestra and the orchestral interpretation. It's the verve, or lack thereof, in the playing. Granted, they're using small forces in this recording (one per part), which is a new approach for the British ensembles we all know and listen to. But Spinosi et al., in Vivaldi recordings have no trouble instilling some drama into the reading. Listen to the third movement of BWV 1052: so much energy and richness in that opening line. And it's all imagined in my brain. Why can't they sing it out? Don't they hear that sauce being asked for a squeeze out of the bottle? There are some good moments in this collection, no doubt. But I found the playing from the orchestra far too kind and polite for my taste. Biondi does the same BWV 1052 right in his rendition for violin. The comparison says it all.

Bach Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas

Pavana - the Virgin Harpsichord