This recording presents a completely new way of thinking about concerto performance. It is based on our belief that these timeless Bach masterpieces still allow room for discovery and adventure. ~ Bob James
Three double concertos for harpsichord by Bach survive, all dating from around 1736, and all arrangements of earlier compositions. BWV 1060 is thought to have originated as a now lost double concerto for oboe and violin, while BWV 1062 is a reworking of the well-loved concerto for two violins. Unlike these two works, BWV 1061 was composed for two harpsichords from the outset, but probably started out as a concerto without orchestral accompaniment – this will have been added later. Performing these works, with a quintet of string players from the Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki is joined by his son Masato. For the present disc Masato Suzuki has also taken a page from Bach’s own book, in arranging the composer’s Orchestral Suite No.1 for two unaccompanied harpsichords.
The soloist in all the concertos of our recording is Josef Suk (1929), the grandson of the composer Josef Suk (1874-1935) and great- grandson of Antonin Dvorak. Since 1954, he has been pursuing an uninterrupted and diversified solo career and has become the most eminent Czech violin virtuoso of his generation. Suk's partner in Bach's Concerto for Two Violins is the Czech violin virtuoso Ladislav Jasek (1929), who has been active in Australia since the early 1970's. The oboe part in the Double Concerto in D minor BWV 1060a is played by Jan Adamus (1951).
"…In short, this CD is a delight from begin to end. It will make you want to see and hear the two pieces performed live because only then can one fully enjoy the virtuosic playfulness and beauty of the musical interchange between the two pianos in the Concerto in E flat major; not to mention the pure divertimento of the Concerto in F major, which is a recreational, uplifting and entertaining." ~musicweb-international
Kuijken was born in Dilbeek, near Brussels. He was a member of the Alarius Ensemble of Brussels between 1964 and 1972 and formed La Petite Bande in 1972. Since 1971 he has taught Baroque violin at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium in Brussels. He is noted for using the older technique of resting the violin on the shoulder without a shoulder rest, rather than held under the chin. He is a member of the Kuijken String Quartet, which he formed in 1986. In recent years, he has also performed as conductor of symphonies of the Romantic era.
BIS' investigation of Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas' oeuvre is getting into his latest and least-known concerted repertoire with its Skalkottas: Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra (1945). It features violinists Georgios Demertzis and Simos Papanas with Vassilis Christopoulos and the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra in the concerto; the same body supports pianists Maria Asteriadou and Nikolaos Samaltanos in Skalkottas' Concertino (1935) and xylophonist Dimitris Dessyllas in his tiny Characteristic Piece "Nocturnal Amusement" (1949)………..Uncle Dave Lewis @ AllMusic
“Technically speaking the Emerson String Quartet are unimpeachable, with meticulous internal balance and intonation sustained at all times, remarkable tonal matching between the instruments and precision phrasing and dynamics. There is a beguiling transparency about their sound-world that allows every voice to register with the kind of resonance-free clarity . . . ” - International Record Review, London, July 2008