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Bach, Mozart & Schubert from Avie

Bach Brandenburg Concertos ▪ Harpsichord Concertos
Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 (reconstruction)
Avie AV 2207

Symphony No. 40 in G minor, Aria and Recitative from Lucia Silla,
Ballet Music from Idomeneo, Contradances Avie AV 2159

Schubert The 8 Impromptus
Andrea Lucchesini, piano
Avie AV 2179

Three from Avie, all excellent. Two introducing the Cleveland Baroque Orchesta Apollo's Fire* testify to the high standard of period instrument playing in USA.

Led by harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell, they turn in superb accounts of the Brandenburgs plus two of the most popular harpsichord concertos, with our own Elizabeth Wallfisch in the reconstructed violin concerto.

More enjoyable, as a disc to play straight through, is their Mozart, with as fine a G minor as you'll find anywhere followed by a lighter selection of dances, and with a virtuosic account of a little known aria from soprano Amanda Forsythe, who is quite unfazed by its coloratura demands.

I'm generally cautious about intégrales and we recently found all the Schubert impromptus hard to sit through in recital (Andras Schiff, no less!). Public taste c. 1826 had turned against "sonatas" & Schubert was happy to have his D 899 labelled as "Impromptus" [Misha Donat].

But if you do want (another) complete set of the 8 Impromptus, and are happy with a (probable) Steinway - the instrument is unidentified in the booklet - then Lucchesini will be as good a guide as you're likely to find. I was unexpectedly so captivated by the chord voicing and many natural-sounding, unassertive subtleties he brings to them that I have listened right through with unalloyed pleasure.

But first buy Lucchesini's Berio Piano Music "At last... the Berio disc that afficionados have been waiting for". It is often the case that pianists who are specialists in contemporary music bring something extra to the standard repertoire - and so do those pianists who also work with period keyboard instruments !

Peter Grahame Woolf

* Apollo's Fire will be debuting in UK, November at Wigmore Hall