Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Orchestral Suite No.1 BWV 1066 [19:28]
Violin Concerto in E major BWV 1042 (1717) [17:40]
Suite No.3 - Air BWV 1068
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Divertimento in D major K205 (1773) [13:04]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No.6 ‘Le matin’ (1761) [17:24]
Leipzig Gewandhaus Bach Orchestra/Gerhard Bosse (violin and director)
rec. October 1966, St Pancras Town Hall, London

Gerhard Bosse and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Bach Orchestra made a number of recordings together, notably the Violin Concertos in A and C for Eterna and Philips. For Eterna, Bosse also recorded some Beethoven piano trios with colleagues Kootz and Erben. He also popped up in a complete set of Handel’s Op.6 Concerti grossi with the Handel Festspielorchester Halle where they were conducted by Horst-Tanu Margraf and quite successfully too. Otherwise he’s pretty well unrecorded, which makes this live concert interesting.

It was taped at St Pancras Town Hall in London in 1966 during an orchestral tour. The programme is what you’d call ‘solid roast beef’; Bach, Mozart, and Haydn. Bosse is the soloist and director and he’s an accomplished practitioner in both arts. There’s a picture in the booklet of Bosse listening intently through headphones to a playback, fiddle in hand, and the first violinist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus is indeed, as expected, a first rate performer.

He plays the E major with unassuming directness and musicality, maintaining a fine ensemble and rapport with the orchestra behind him, with the exception of a brief lapse in the finale. There’s plenty of pathos in the slow movement, with a lot of plangency of phrasing. It’s a performance of considerable merit. Bach’s First Orchestral Suite is strongly etched but is by no means too heavy. The bassoon chugs along amiably in the Ouverture, and the Forlane is well characterised. Mozart’s Divertimento is richly and warmly played, and a fine example of this orchestra’s attention to balance, detail and weight. The Haydn Symphony is the Sixth, Le matin, and it’s here that one registers Bosse’s subtlety at its most acute. The mysterious opening of the symphony is followed by a sprightly Allegro, with a full complement of brio attached. The concertante roles are well taken and so too those solo moments called for. Note too the fine thrummed accompaniment in the Minuet.

The recording is very decent, capturing Bosse’s tone with fidelity. This specialist programme will appeal to those interested in soloist and/or orchestra, in the main. One appreciates the potential audience may well be small, but such releases serve posterity well in making available performances that might otherwise be lost forever.

Jonathan Woolf

This specialist programme will appeal to those interested in soloist and/or orchestra, in the main.