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.