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Violin Concertos BWV 1041-1043
Sontata for Solo Violin BWV 1001
Lara St. John (Violin)
Review: The Concerto Album by Lara St. John


O-1

Bach: The Concerto Album

Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041 [13:02]
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042 [16:36]:
Concerto for 2 violins, strings & continuo in D minor ("Double"), BWV 1043 [13:50]
Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001 [14:48]

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New York Bach Ensemble

Lara St. John (Violin); Scott St. John (Violin] [BWV 1043]

Ancalagon

Sep 11-13, 2000 [BWV 1041-1043]
Feb 12, 2001 [BWV 1001]

CD / TT: 58:47

Recorded at New York Academy of Arts and Letters, NY, USA [BWV 1041-1043] & Skywalker Sound Scoring Stage, Marin County, California, USA [BWV 1001].
1st recording of Sonata for solo violin No. 1 BWV 1001 by L. St. John.
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Review: The Concerto Album by Lara St. John

Kirk McElhearn wrote (April 6, 2002):
This was the "mystery" violinist of a few weeks ago...

You certainly cannot judge a book by its cover. Looking at the picture on the cover of this CD, with Lara St. John looking sensually at the camera, pouting, as her clothes seem to be drawn by gravity, one might expect a disc from the latest Britney Spears wannabe. Lara St. John has deliberately crafted this image, however, in order to attract those who might not purchase classical music. In her first three recordings (the first two of which were produced by Kathy Geisler and the third self-produced and published), she has show a rare mastery of violin technique, which makes her more than just a pretty face.

This third recording was released in April 2002, and, at the same time, an announcement was made that St. John has signed a contract with Sony Music. It turns out that her gamble has paid off - she has made it to the majors through a careful combination of image and musical virtuosity. For she is an excellent violinist, there is no doubt about it. This disc, which contains Bach's three violin concertos, and the first sonata for solo violin, shows that the plays these majestic pieces effortlessly. While her accompaniment remains in the background - making this a soloist's discs rather than an ensemble disc - it serves her well.

The sound of her excellent Guadagnini violin is rich and sensuous, and she uses it well in the sonata for solo violin in G minor. In fact, this work is the high point of the album - her recording of the fugue from this sonata shows a great deal of subtlety and a true understanding of the music.

At times the magic slips, though, when St. John sounds more of a virtuoso than a feeling musician. But these moments are rare, and this disc, if anything, is the presage of an interesting career. Perhaps now that she has graduated to the big time, she can dispense with the provocative poses and her discs will be sold for the music - excellent as it is - rather than for her image.

 

Feedback to the Review

Pete Blue wrote (April 6, 2002):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Lara is quite the babe. Do you have a St. John passion? (Sorry. That was supposed to be sort of a joke.)

Pete Blue (who is old, but still has a fantasy life)

Kirk McElhearn wrote (April 6, 2002):
[To Pete Blue] No, not especially. Though she is a babe, as you say...

Charles Francis wrote (April 7, 2002):
Kirk McElhearn wrote:
< This was the "mystery" violinist of a few weeks ago... >
Just shows, one shouldn't judge a book by its cover. [snip]

 

Concertos for Violin & Orchestra BWV 1041-1043: Details
Recordings:
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Review: The Concerto Album by Lara St. John | Violin concertos by Elizabeth Wallfisch
General Discussions:
Part 1

Lara St. John: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Review: The Concerto Album by Lara St. John


Instrumental Works: Recordings, Reviews & Discussions - Main Page | Order of Discussion
Recording Reviews of Instrumental Works: Main Page | Organ | Keyboard | Solo Instrumental | Chamber | Orchestral, MO, AOF
Performers of Instrumental Works: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



 

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