J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos
Julia Fischer & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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Competent, but not compared to the best recordings of the past
Speaking as a classical musician myself, I thought Fisher's playing was enjoyable. But it lacked the brilliant artistry and musical expressiveness of David Oistrakh, who in my opinion performs the works here with much more technical flair, intellectual depth and beautiful poetic playing. As some other writer noted, the tempi are a bit more relaxed, as it is in Oistrakh's recording. If you're not familiar with Bach's Violin Concertos, you won't be disappointed. But if you want a poetic and brilliant performance, I suggest getting the Oistrakh recording instead. As for Samuel Beckett, I suggest reading his books and avoiding his thoughts on music, as he really wasn't a musician. Anyone who believes that Bach's music, who arguably is considered the greatest composer ever (by most every composer and musician who followed him), sounds like pretty finger playing does not know or understand music. I'd like to suggest to people who truly believe that to listen to Bach's Mass in B minor, scored for large orchestra (for its time), choir and 5 soloists (singers). Music, especially classical music, is more than the sum of its parts, more than just hitting the right notes and keeping your intonation intact. It's about feeling, mystery and intellectual conveyance.
I think Julia is fantastic. I would love to hear what she would do with Brian Crain's "Spring Symphonies". I think they would be a perfect match.
Not too bad
Julia Fischer does a competet job but there is really nothing to write home about. The tempi are slower then the latest crop of pseudo-period perfomance offerings and there are times when the playing all around sounds a little too notey. There is also the odd slip-up on the part of the Saint Martin which should have been edited out. Still I'd much prefer this recording to the recent Mutter one. Fischer also includes a movement from Vivaldi to boot to flesh it out a bit. All in all it's OK.