For those who already appreciate Rachel Podger's unique brand of magic I'll just say that this return to recorded Bach is lovely and all that one could hope for. All that one looks for is here, and there is more. For those who are not familiar with Rachel Podger, she is a unique voice among violinists. She has absorbed the principles of late Baroque performance practice and made them a part of herself, so that the articulation and inflection of that rhetorical approach to music flows from her as a natural idiom of expression.
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.
This release by Russian-Finnish pianist Anastasia Injushina and the Hamburger Camerata under Ralf Gothóni doesn't fit into any of the usual pigeonholes, and it thus has a fresh, bracing quality. Injushina plays a modern piano, but she neither gives it a consistent, harpsichord-like sound nor plays the music with the full capabilities of the modern piano in mind. Gothóni likewise his small group of Hamburgers in accompaniments that are neither Baroque nor modern. What this enables the musicians to do is depict with uncommon accuracy the musical commonalities and differences among J.S. Bach and his sons.
Christian Hommel studied the oboe in Freiburg with Heinz Holliger and the piano with James Avery. He was a prizewinner at the Geneva International Music Competition and at the Trieste Oboe Competition and received various other awards and prizes, including the scholarship of the German Music Council in 1985, the 1987 German Music Competition prize and the 1988 prize of the Wiesbaden Mozart Society. He has appeared throughout Europe, America and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor. For some years he has served as a member of the Cologne Chamber Orchestras as a soloist and ensemble player and has a special interest in contemporary music. He gives regular international master-classes, is Professor at the Bremen Hochschule für Künste, directs the German Youth Symphony Orchestra and has won awards for his recordings.