This two-CD set is actually part of an ambitious undertaking: ESS.A.Y Recordings recorded these sonatas in two different versions, this one featuring Ms. Tenenbaum on a modern violin and accompanied by a modern piano played by Richard Kapp; the other recording (reviewed below) features Ms. Tenenbaum playing an older violin and accompanied by a harpsichord played by Gerald Ranck.
The pellucid simplicity of Bruno Canino's pianoplaying is the perfect partner for the fine silver of Viktoria Mullova's violin playing. Here it is at its most refined, even its most austere. The Adagio of the B minor Sonata contains absolutely nothing extraneous to a perception of the melody's own contours: no gloss of dynamic or movement, just a sense of totally secure accomplishment, sophisticated timbre and phrasing.
J. S. Bach's second son, C.P.E. Bach, described the six Sonatas for Violin and Cembalo as "among the best compositions of my dear departed father", and went on to say how well they sounded and what pleasure they still gave him, although written some fifty years before. Over 300 years later these pieces still sound fresh and delightful.
In the Bach Double Concerto, Sitkovetsky is joined by his uncle Dmitry, and it's fascinating to hear how well matched they are - Alexander (playing the prime part, I assume) having a more refined and slightly brighter sound. Theirs is a stylish performance, too, featuring long lines, flowing tempi and nimble orchestral playing. In fact, despite the awkward name, the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra are a tight-knit band with a handsomely warm sound. Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, London, in 2002, when Alexander was not yet 20, this disc offers further evidence of a career that could (and should) be spectacular. -- [8/2004]
The Gemini Series features an impressive roster of singers, conductors, soloists, and ensembles of international renown, all from the incomparable EMI Classics stable. EMI's rich legacy of recording expertise comes to the fore in performances from the 1960s to the 1990s. Gemini titles are predominantly collections of single composers and fantastic value with well over an hour of music on each CD, making them the ideal place to start or develop a collection of classical music. Each 2-CD set contains over two hours of music for a fantastically low price. Attractively designed and packaged in space-saving brilliant boxes, each set includes three-language booklets with detailed notes on the music.
John Holloway and Davitt Moroney have set up a musically rewarding partnership in these brilliantly inventive works, furthermore adding to their programme the two lovely sonatas for violin and continuo long attributed to Bach, and justly so. In both of them they are joined by Susan Sheppard (continuo cello). For these sonatas Moroney has preferred a chamber organ to a harpsichord.