BACH Violin Concertos / Carmignola 4792695
Carmignola is on characteristically ebullient form, bringing sparkling virtuosity to Bach's outer movements while revelling in the poetry of the inner ones . . . Carmignola's linear control is well-sustained and expressive, as in the "Adagio" of the E major Concerto, BWV 1042 and the brooding "Adagio" of the D minor Concerto, BWV 1052R. These strengths serve well the melody of the sublime "Largo ma non tanto" of the D minor Concerto for two violins. Here Carmignola is partnered by Mayumi Hirasaki who plays first violin. Their fugal dialogue is even and clear with sensitive articulation . . . [any reservations] are outnumbered by the virtues, among which are a discreetly imaginative harpsichord continuo, incisive ensemble and a sympathetic recorded sound.
Carmignola is a man of his generation, choosing to work on Bach with one of the most versatile, pre-eminent and stylish of German ensembles . . . one can alight on the spaciousness of the playing, the robustness of rhythmic articulation and accentuation in the outer movements and the overall unfussiness in the spontaneous intensity of Carmignola's front-footed projection. Yet in the cool phraseology of the slow movements of both the A minor (BWV1041) and E major (BWV1042), more elegantly observational than intimate, a contemporary dialect prevails, most memorably in a sweetly flowing "Largo" from the great Double Concerto (BWV1043): the voicing of the solo parts, with Carmignola playing second, is a supremely distinguished essay in cultivated dovetailing and fresh dialogues . . . Carmignola's urgency never leaves the listener breathless; agreeable inflections, such as the portamentos in the last movement of the Double, provide welcome coloration . . . in the D minor Harpsichord Concerto (BWV1052 -- a more natural fit for a violin in the genre does not exist) . . . [Carmignola gives] a performance of visceral resonance and poetic engagement which has never been bettered.
. . . [Carmignola is] effectively transforming the German master into an Italian. Carmignola's slippery, virtuoso bowing and brisk fingering on the final movement effects a marvellous rejuvenation of the A minor concerto . . . [it's the "Adagio" of the E minor concerto] that most enchants, drawing one into a subtle whirlpool of quiet contemplation.
. . . a lively Baroque spirit, pacy, lithe of rhythm, lucid of texture . . . there is plenty of healthy animation in the instrumental lines.
. . . as fast and furious as things get, contrapuntal clarity is never lost, and in the slow movements he pours on an intensely lyrical quality that may also be unidiomatic, but will get to listeners if they let it. Carmignola is well supported by fine studio sound from the revived Archiv label, and in general this is the kind of album that gets points for sheer audacity.
Violinist Giuliano Carmignola pours old Bach into a Venetian bottle, and the effect proves mesmerizing . . . What a splendid musical gambit: performing Bach in a thoroughly Italian style! . . . The A Minor Concerto, BWV 1041 is the first recipent of the glories of the Venetian sound through which it passes, a concept fleet and rhythmically buoyant in the outer movements and seductively impassioned in the "Andante". The dance character of the outer movements benefits from the startling attacks and rhyhmic inflections Carmignola imposes on the fluid lines. The continuo harpsichord, performed by Gianluca Capuano, proves no less significant in these happy realizations. The E Major Concerto sheds all heaviness from its opening "Allegro" and becomes a suave forerunner of the Viotti style. Carmignola pushes the tempo and violin figuarations with seamless urgency, adding a roulade, shortening or extending the note values, or inserting a grace note group ad libitum. Concerto Köln leader Mayumi Hirasaki, a former pupil of Carmignola in Lucerne, assumes the first violin part for the ubiquitous Double Concerto in D Minor. The pure hustle of the performance, in conjunction with the suave integration of bowing strokes and articulated syncopes, should convince an auditor of the canny verve of this Italian perspective . . . We must concur that Maestro Carmignola and his splendid associates have helped music lovers to enjoy "a fresh light emanating from within this wonderful music". A sterling sonic image enhances this fine disc . . .
The selection in this disc makes a nicely balanced programme . . . all the fast movements are extremely incisive, this is playing which prizes brilliance of sound . . . in all the outer movements Carmignola and Concerto Köln combine crisp articulation, firmness of line and accent, with a sense of infectiousness in the passagework . . . Though speeds are fast, the saving grace of the performances is their combination of sheer "joie de vive" with a lovely sense of the rhythmic nature of the underlying music. The performances never feel driven, and there is a nice, neat use of rubato without it ever feeling self-indulgent. This continues into the slow movements, and Carmignola's accounts are some of the few that I have come across where there is a genuine feeling of dance rhythm in the accompaniment. Carmignola's own playing in the slow movements is superb, with a lovely feeling of a long, spun-out line but one which has a firmness to it as well as flexibility. The result is elegant and poised, without it ever feeling Carmignola is milking the lovely solo lines . . . [in the double concerto, there] is that rare thing, two balanced soloists who both play with the same sense and seem to continue each other's lines.
A fine recording of a beautifully executed performance . . . Carmignola plays accurately, and the solo part is very well executed, technically. But there's also a welcome edge to the playing that really lifts the music out of the routine. Rhythms are springly and buoyant, and the interpretations have plenty of fire and life. We get the two regular solo concertos, plus the double and two "reconstructions" of lost originals from Bach's harpsichord concertos -- including a gritty probing account of the great D minor concerto BWV 1052. Archiv's recording is crisp and immediate, with lots of bite. Yet the upper partials avoid edginess, and tonally the sound is natural and well balanced; close, but with space around the instruments.
. . . my favorite set of Bach concertos . . . Carmignola refuses to lose the singing, soulful qualities that define great Bach playing . . . the violinist brings as much warmth as he and his period forces can muster. The orchestral contributions are uniformly excellent . . . the Concerto Köln follows the lead of their soloist and embraces a lovingly phrased approach. The reconstructed concertos that end the disc sound fascinating as heard here, and Carmignola proves nothing short of dazzling. The sound favors the soloist, but all the important details are present. Furthermore, the continuo part is tastefully mixed . . . For pure musical pleasure and commitment in every bar, this disc earns a very easy recommendation.
Voici un disque superbe et qui réchauffe le coeur à l'annonce des fêtes de fin d'année . . . Au confluent des deux cultures baroques, l'allemande et l'italienne, mariant l'interprétation solaire de Giuliano Carmignola et la fougue presque théâtrale du Concerto Köln, il offre d'abord une splendide lecture des trois concertos bien connus de Bach, les BWV 1041 à 1043 (pour ce dernier Carmignola cède sa place au premier violon de l'orchestre, Mayumi Hirasaki, et tient la seconde partie). A la fois dansant dans les mouvements vifs et méditatif dans les adagios, l'archet inspiré de Carmignola restitue ces chefs d'oeuvre dans leur alliance inégalée de virtuosité et de profondeur ; il révèle avec beaucoup de finesse et de pertinence ce que l'écriture de Bach doit aux maîtres italiens qu'il a tant étudiés, copiés et transcrits. Mais le plus intéressant sans doute réside dans la (re) découverte des concertos BWV 1052 et 1056 dont on sait que la version pour clavecin qui nous est parvenue est en fait une transcription d'un original pour violon perdu. Avouons que la reconstruction de Marco Serino se révèle suffisamment astucieuse pour être crédible.
La prise de son manifeste un parti pris: sans agressivité, des timbres très incisifs dans un espace réverbéré. Le violon disparait parfois dans l'orchestre pour revenir au premier plan . . . Carmignola relie les deux mondes dans un disque osé et fascinant. Certains mélomanes se braqueront sur des ornements nouveaux et des paroxysmes, mais tout s'apprécie dans son contexte -- la cadence spasmodique du BWV 1052 prend son sens et sa nécessité au terme d'une longue progression dramatique, impeccable . . . Carmignola n'hésite pas à "jeter" l'accent et à tendre des aigus âpres pour ensuite adoucir la phrase -- le premier allegro du BWV 1056 est pour une fois aussi convaincant au violon qu'au clavecin. Les mouvements lents fondent des tendresses et des détresses inouies dans les arabesques pleines d'incises, qui déstabilisent l'oreille sans jamais l'égarer. Rien n'est comme on l'attend, et tout fait mouche: le Largo du BWV 1056 non pas éthéré mais badin (ce rubato, ces pastels!), le finale du BWV 1042 décontracté, le Largo du BWV 1043 voluptueux et ludique sous les phrasés sophistiqués de Carmignola et son ancienne élève.