Bach: Violin Concertos – in A minor, BWV1041; in E major, BWV1042; for two violins in D minor, BWV1043; Inventions – in C major, BWV772; in F major, BWV779; Schnittke: Concerto Grosso No 3

Reviewed on Tue 28 Apr, 2015

The first movement of Bach’s D minor Double Concerto typifies what’s best about the Nemtanu sisters’ playing, being lightly bowed, subtly embellished, not exactly ‘period’ Bach but well en route, while the Largo ma non tanto that follows flows nicely and the rhythmically vigorous finale rounds off a satisfying performance. As to the solo Concertos, Sarah tackles the E major, and Deborah the A minor. If listening blind, I’d hazard to identify many differences between them: the smiling nose-to-nose portrait on the CD jacket suggests that what you hear is ‘what it says on the box’, siblings thinking and feeling on the same plane. The programming context is interesting, a couple of Bach two-part Inventions and Alfred Schnittke’s 1985 Concerto Grosso No 3, music that starts out like a throw-back to Baroque times but soon grows more intense, climaxing with an emotionally charged pair of middle movements, where the Nemtanus turn on the heat with passion to spare. The Paris Chamber Orchestra under Sascha Goetzel are with them all the way, and the sound is superb.
–Rob Cowan