78

Lara St. John and Marie-Pierre Langlamet: Bach Sonatas

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Lara St. John and Marie-Pierre Langlamet: Bach Sonatas Can classical music performance be controversial? Most often, this is true only when a performance departs from contemporary (or not-so-contemporary) conventional wisdom, which often relies on both a uniform and blinding reverence to how "things ought to be." Every composer who ever put pen to parchment may have designated a specific instrument in a given piece, but that does not preclude the possibility of a different instrument playing that same piece. In fact, this is exactly how the composers of the 17th and 18th centuries did things: they wrote music from which they could get mileage. For example, Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the chief architects of this practice, loved to transpose his and others' music to be played. His spiritual buddy, George Frederick Handel, was the same way, shamelessly borrowing from himself and others to provide music that could be shared.

Violinist Lara St. John and Berlin Philharmonic harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet have done no less in their recital of Bach ensemble pieces for violin and flute with harpsichord accompaniment. This project was borne by St. John's desire to simplify the harmonic support, distilling it, as it were, to an essence...the essence of Bach. The harp is a perfect foil for her crisp interpretation of Bach and Langlamet fully fits the bill as its driver. This prepares Bach for the parlor, that time-tested tradition of intimate performance among close friends. St. John's Bach bona fides are beyond question, with her earliest recordings culminating in the triumphant Bach: The Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo (2007), the first release on her own eclectic label, Ancalagon.

While equally informed, this incarnation of Bach is decidedly different from St. John's sparks-throwing early days. Here is a measured, fully mature Bach, played with a loving and tempered Romantic flair. This is most evident on the slower sections, like the "Adagio ma non tanto" of Sonata No. 3 in E Major for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV 1016, where St. John effects a more mellow and round tone, one well suited to the quiet majesty of Langlamet's warm and secure harp.

The interpretation of the three sonatas for flute and harpsichord are most revealing. The two adopted instruments meld well with the harmony and melody, time and temperature of the original intent. These are amazingly cool performances in temperament that generate warmth as the two instruments unite synergistically. On Bach Sonata, St. John finds a musical soul mate and continues to cultivate her unique approach to making old music new again.

Track Listing: Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Keyboard in B minor, BWV 1014: I. Adagio; II. Allegro, III Andante, IV Allegro; Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Keyboard in E major, BWV 1016: I. Adagio, II. Allegro, III. Adagio ma non tanto, IV. Allegro; Sonata for Violin and Keyboard in G minor, BWV 1020: I. Allegro, II. Adagio, III. Allegro; Sonata for Flute and Keyboard in B minor, BWV 1030: I. Andante, II. Largo e dolce, III. Presto; Sonata for Flute and Keyboard in B minor, BWV 1030: IV. Siciliana.

Personnel: Lara St. John: violin; Marie-Pierre Langlamet: harp.

Title: Bach Sonatas | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Ancalagon


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Serpentines" CD/LP/Track Review Serpentines
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Intenso!" CD/LP/Track Review Intenso!
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Urban Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Urban Soul
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "What Doesn’t Kill You" CD/LP/Track Review What Doesn’t Kill You
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Black Art Jazz Collective - Presented By The Side Door Jazz Club" CD/LP/Track Review Black Art Jazz Collective - Presented By The Side Door Jazz...
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 3, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.