Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Jennifer Koh, Bach & Beyond, Part 3


US Violinist Jennifer Koh chimes in with her Bach and Beyond, Part 3  (Cedille CDR 90000 199 2-CDs) (see index for my review of Part 2). This volume has much to recommend it.  It bookends the wonderful unaccompanied Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3 by Bach. And then in between we get a chance to experience Ms. Koh's deep readings of Luciano Berio's "Sequenza VIII for solo violin" and the world premiere of John Harbison's "For Violin Alone."

Jennifer's readings of Bach are measured, feelingful without being datedly, overly emotive, a contemporary conversant positive, transcendent one might say. And so they set the stage for the expressionist contrast of the Berio, which is quite rigorous and concentrated with energy and exact spiel, so to speak.

And then the Harbison work breaks into seven movements that express very inventive contemporary melodics yet go beyond to a sort of timeless inner Bachian fluidity that nonetheless has a Harbisonian flex eloquence? Yes, that is what hits me as I listen a number of times. It seems like an important work for its outstanding effervescence of spirit. Modern, yet beyond the present is how it strikes me. And Jennifer gives us a spirited reading that phrases itself definitively, playfully, yet seriously expressive in a matter-of-fact way.

The CD set ends with a very caring and careful rendition of Bach's No. 3.

All told this is a superior, stimulatingly music volume of violin superlatives. Jennifer Koh is in her element, singing and articulately singular in a program that stands out for the what AND the how. Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment