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 Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4" CD/LP/Track Review Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: February 18, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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