J S Bach, Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin - Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 5-6; Concerto For 2 Violins; Concerto For Violin No.2

Published Saturday 11th May 2019
J S Bach, Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin - Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 5-6; Concerto For 2 Violins; Concerto For Violin No.2
J S Bach,  Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin - Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 5-6; Concerto For 2 Violins; Concerto For Violin No.2

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174971-28155
LABEL: Warner Classics 0190295792770
FORMAT: CD Album

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

There is quite a history to this release. Clearly an album with the Brandenburg Concertos Numbers Five and Six (BWV1050 and 1051 for those of you who take note) must have a counterpart with Numbers One to Four. Indeed, the original recording by Yehudi Menuhin and the Bath Festival Orchestra in 1959 has been issued in various formats - starting with vinyl - and re-issued in various combinations, including a double CD, over the years. So I deduce that there is somewhere out there another single CD in the 'Essential Classics' series that does indeed have the first four. Anyway, the Brandenburgs can stand alone and the two on this disc are well worth hearing. For those of us of a certain age, Yehudi Menuhin (eventually Baron Menuhin OM, KBE) was once the big name in popular classical violin circles - think Nigel Kennedy without the haircut. He was born in the USA in 1916 but spent most of his career based in Britain, dying in 1999. He was from a Hasidic Jewish background, a form of Judaism that embraced spontaneous singing and dancing within worship - think Fiddler On The Roof - and this sense of joy is entirely appropriate for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The additional tracks on this CD are far more than mere filler being the "Concerto For Two Violins In D Minor" (BWV1043) with Menuhin being joined by Christian Ferras and "Concerto For Violin In E" (BWV1042). Both are significant in their own rights and deserve a full context and review. They mesh well with the Brandenburgs partly because all feature Menuhin but mainly because Bach's personality can clearly be heard throughout. In the notes that I jotted down while listening the following words stand out: positive, progressive, tuneful, dynamic, vivacious. This is indeed music to bring a smile to our face and truly deserves the label "Essential Classics".

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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