Bach: Harpsichord Concertos, BWV 1052-1057

Reviewed on Fri 23 Oct, 2015

Were I to single out just one concerto for particular praise, it would be the beautifully recorded No 5 in F minor, with its firm bass-line and subtle embellishments; indeed, the sheer style of Staier’s playing places it in a very special category.

Andreas Staier busies himself very much as a first among equals, his Freiburg colleagues keeping up energy levels with a full body of tone and a firm rhythmic thrust. In the great D minor concerto Staier sounds as if he’s placed within the band rather than in front of it, the tone of the E major lighter, brighter, and more chamber-like. The G minor (the A minor Violin Concerto transcribed) has the benefit of a swiftly skipping gigue-finale, and even though I still find the Adagio of the D major (E major Violin Concerto) wanting for a lyrically sustained line, Staier makes the best possible case for the keyboard alternative. The winsome F major (mirror imaging the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto) is among the set’s most successful performances, but were I to single out just one concerto for particular praise, it would be the beautifully recorded No 5 in F minor, with its firm bass-line and subtle embellishments; indeed, the sheer style of Staier’s playing places it in a very special category. A distinguished set, then, and one that I would heartily recommend.
–Rob Cowan