"But certainly too slow for me... The overall tone of the performance is one of sadness and melancholia, rather than joy and happiness. Papa Bach wrote these concertos to dance and light up, not to get an audience depressed, dormant or low keyed, and that's the way I see it.I've heard other performances (Yehudi Menuhin, Erick Friedman, Christian Ferras, etc.) with a lot more life put into the interpretation. But I would be unfair if I say this is not a good production and an outstanding rendition from the artists. It is an excellent one! The sound is terrific (though my first impression was that the batteries in my portable CD player were weakening). The English Chamber Orchestra behind them kept on the same plane as the performers, and its rendition is majestic. Mutter and Accardo, as soloists, did also a great job. They are rated among the best violinists in the Western World. But this is not the Mutter you've heard with Karajan when she was a teen. Here, as in her second recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, she is a more calmed, serene, ethereal fiedler. The good thing is that you hear more music and less pyrotechnical show off. If you don't care about their pace in this delivery or if you just want to close your eyes and relax and maybe succeed with your insomnia, this is a wonderful product to your ears and your soul. But if you are like I am, and you prefer to listen music with your eyes and your ears wide open, there are better choices for you."
Pensive, sweet, romantic
Prof. Horace Worblehat | Southwest Montana USA | 01/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are lovely recordings, not at all too slow for my taste. Mutter has a stunningly beautiful tone and touch, and Accardo is a sensitive partner. The readings are, I grant, romanticized; this is Bach of the heart, not the coolly rational, brainy Bach. But it works for me. When the world has been too much with you, when you're feeling 'buked and 'bused, listen and be comforted."
Ryan Kouroukis | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After searching for the best stereo versions for a while I stumbled on this amazing Mutter disc! (I also felt I needed something to accompany my Menuhin and Enescu mono recording).
I find that Mutter brings great depth and humanity to these readings as well as mystery, beauty and power. She is amazing during this period of her career, more than now.
The sound quality is also quite amazing, capturing details and producing clairty in the huge intense moments. The ECO don't sound chamber like they sound like a real orchestra for once!
Accardo provides powerful accompaniments and joins her in the Double to great success!
-I don't know why this recording doesn't sit with other reviewers, but it's what I was looking for with these concertos, and it's what I got!
Master and Disciple Failing Together
Octavius | United States | 10/19/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I was not impressed at all with this performance from master and disciple together and I would say this is ironically the worst for both of them and their both playing together. I would look at other performances before buying this one.
Accardo is not really a Bach specialist any more than Manze is a Vivaldi specialist. Accardo's interpretation sounded like a Vivaldi solo as opposed the mechanically precise works of Bach. Mutter is more proficient in symphonic works from the Romantic period onwards but not Baroque in general. Mutter performed as if she was playing the bare bones of a Bach sonata here and there was simply no life to her performance: it was rather tedious instead. It seemed as if both players were unsure who was going to lead or whether to play in the Italian instead of the German style. It's almost as if Accardo is telling Mutter to take lead in the fashion of baby steps and and she just doesn't get it thereby wrecking the whole performance. The recording quality isn't particularly great either.
This performance is definitely one for the vaults and I hate to do this because Accardo is one of my favorite virtuosos. He shines in Italian Baroque groups such as I Musici and he excells in Paganini with Dutoit but not here with Mutter and Bach: it's just not his style and it sounds like it. As for Mutter, I've heard several performances with her and I find her to be talented but somewhat overrated: she wouldn't be my first choice for lead violin in general and she would be one of my last for Baroque."
My favorite recording of the Bach violin concertos to date
Wings42 | San Diego, CA United States | 01/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Each of us brings our own biases, aesthetic sense, listening history, and expectations to every piece of music we listen to, so I won't insult Mr. Zaleski or question his integrity or judgment in rating this great recording one star, but his appraisal does this recording and prospective purchasers a disservice in my opinion. I also specialize in Baroque music, and this is my favorite recording of the Bach violin concertos to date.
The tempos are perfect to my ear, neither too fast nor too slow. Both Ms. Mutter and Mr. Accardo play with amazing accuracy, ease, joy, and clarity of tone. The English Chamber Orchestra is spot on as usual. There is no romanticizing of the music. By that, I mean the tempo and volume are even in each movement, vibrato is not excessive at all, glissando and other romantic techniques are properly absent, and the Baroque "pulse" is clearly there as Bach intended. The sound quality of the entire album is startlingly clear, bright, and warm at first listening, and at the 25th listening.
I bought this album as an anniversary gift for my wife when it first came out almost 20 years ago. She has kept it in her car ever since. We still enjoy listening to this album from time to time. We've listened to other recordings of our beloved Bach violin concertos as they show up on classical music stations or Rhapsody music service. We have yet to hear as good or better recording of these concertos.
This album is a wonderful introduction to the violin genius of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Salvadore Accardo, and to the genius of Bach at his most lyrical and accessible.