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finesse and stylistic assurance


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Concerto for violin in G minor BWV 1056R (Reconstruction of the keyboard concerto in F minor BWV 1056) [10:20]
Concerto for violin and oboe in D minor BWV 1060 [14:36]
Trio Sonata in C major for two violins BWV 1037 [12:30]
Sonata for violin and harpsichord No. 4 in C minor BWV 1017 [13:31]
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor BWV 903 [11:27]
Partita No. 4 in D major BWV 928 [17:01]
Winterthur Symphony Orchestra/Clemens Dahinden (BWV 1056R/60)
Peter Rybar (violin: BWV 1017/37/56/60)
Egon Parolari (oboe: BWV 1060)
Anton Fietz (violin: BWV 1037)
Antonio Tusa (cello: BWV 1037)
Theodore Sack (Harpsichord: BWV 1017/37)
GŁnther Ramin (harpsichord: BWV 903/28)
rec. early 1950s. Mono

The main focus of this generously filled disc is the Swiss violinist Peter Rybar (1913-2002). His career was quite diverse. Not only was he a distinguished soloist, but fulfilled the roles of orchestral leader, quartet leader and pedagogue. I've collected many of his recordings over the years on CD, reissued on the Doron label. It was chiefly for the budget priced American labels that circulated after the war that Ryber committed his interpretations, and the recordings here have been sourced from a Concert Hall LP G-15. It's worth pointing out that as well as setting down repertoire staples, Rybar broke relatively new ground at the time with Viotti and Goldmark Concertos, the Suk Fantasy and the Busoni Second Sonata partnered by Clara Haskil - a terrific recording worth seeking out.

The Violin Concerto in G minor BWV 1056 is a transposed transcription of the Keyboard Concerto in F minor. Tempi in the outer movements are rhythmically buoyant. I particularly love Rybar’s eloquent shaping of the melodic line in the fervent Largo. He's joined by oboist Egon Parolari in the Concerto in D minor BWV 1060. Again it's the slow movement which grabs attention. It's a serene dialogue between the two instruments, ardent and heartfelt with the soloists perfectly balanced. Clemens Dahinden and the Winterthur Orchestra bring plenty of enthusiasm and vitality to the outer movements.

The authorship of the Trio Sonata BWV 1037 cannot be determined with any certainty. Some say it’s the work of Bach’s pupil Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. The jury remains open. It’s a four movement sonata, adopting the slow-fast-slow-fast plan. I’ve never heard it before, but there’s plenty in it to enjoy. It’s brought to life with luminous warmth and affection by the four soloists.

The Violin Sonata No. 4 in C minor for violin and harpsichord is not BWV 1017, as indicated. In fact it posed a conundrum for me. I hadn't heard it before, and it somehow didn't feel like Bach. After some research I discovered it to be the Violin Sonata BWV 1024 of dubious authenticity, and probably by Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755). Nevertheless, it's a delightful work with a beguiling Adagio affetuoso sitting at its centre. I'm thankful to have heard it.

This release also features the German organist/harpsichorist GŁnther Ramin (1898-1956) in two keyboard works by Bach. Ramin died young, suffering a brain haemorrage at the age of only fifty-eight. I'm particularly taken with the instrument he uses, which is rich and fulsome. Ramin's playing is technically fluent and stylish. The Fantasia of BWV 903 is bold and dramatic, with a good sense of improvisatory character. The contrapuntal lines of the fugue are expertly delineated. The Partita No. 4 in D major is marked with the wrong BWV number. It should be BWV 828. It's a masterful performance. The opening overture is noble and majestic, and the exquisite allemande which follows is lyrically contoured. He uses some colourful registrations, the minuet, especially, employs an unusual muted mandolin-type register, unlike anything I've heard before.

Alternative performances by Ramin of these two works can be found on a CD put out by the Japanese label Green Door, deriving from a live concert he gave in Moscow in 1954. The readings are interpretively similar to Forgotten Records Musical Masterpiece Society LP transfer, but the live airings offer some raucous bronchial interjections from time to time.

There are no accompanying notes with this release but references to websites of interest. The remasterings are excellent.
Stephen Greenbank




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