Two of the Bach
EMI twofer sets I’ve encountered recently are Maria Tipo’s Goldberg
Variations and other keyboard works and this Gavrilov-Marriner
collaboration dating from 1986. It also includes a valuable
filler, his recording of the French Suite No.5 recorded in the
Slovak Philharmony in Bratislava. It’s a good performance though
one subject to occasionally damaging rubati – the Loure doesn’t
The Concertos are
sane, sensible, sensitive performances. Those looking for feats
of eccentricity, peculiarity and self-indulgence will find very
little to fuel their interests. Gavrilov is certainly capable
of some barnstorming elsewhere on disc and in concert but here,
allied to the occasionally suave but benign leadership of Neville
Marriner and the Academy, one finds that the results are consistently
warm and thoughtfully productive.
are marked by richness of string tone, buoyancy of rhythm,
clarity of articulation and depth of feeling in the slow movements.
The D minor’s Adagio is highly expressive in these hands – in
this respect the two men are in full accord – with the Academy’s
strings richly basted. Finales are crisp and clear – this one
is especially lively, darting and alert. The central movement
of the Concerto in E is hardly a Siciliano, which naturally
it should be, but Gavrilov and Marriner subtly convert it in
a rather moving, intimate way to something unquestionably deep
and gracious. And the subsequent Allegro finale works with vitality
as a fine contrastive envoi.
The opening of BWV1055
is breezy and well balanced and the Academy’s strings are at
their most potent and touching in the same concerto’s Larghetto,
though they are on highly romantic form for the Largo of the
F minor as well. Gavrilov plays throughout with authority and
command, though he has been over-recorded throughout and that’s
a pity. Something like the slow movement of the Concerto in
D can seem rather too slow but in the context of these performances
they adhere consistently to a strong viewpoint. In fact for
all the springiness of the outer movements it’s the slow ones
that catch the ear – try the Andante of the G minor, executed
with limpid delicacy.
These then are attractive
modern-instrument performances without mannerisms; involved
and penetrating, if slow, in the slow movements and sufficiently
robust to vest the outer movements with vitality and weight.
If you can adjust to the over prominent harpsichord embedded
in the texture and to the over-recorded piano you’ll enjoy the
totality of Gavrilov and Marriner’s achievement.