One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750)
Concerto for three violins, strings and bc in d minor (BWV 1063) [13:49]
Concerto for violin, strings and bc in a minor (BWV 1041) [13:15]
Concerto for violin, strings and bc in E (BWV 1042) [16:45]
Concerto for two violins, strings and bc in d minor (BWV 1043) [14:27]
Concerto for three violins, strings and bc in D (BWV 1064R) [16:50]
Monica Huggett, Carla Moore, Jolianne Einem, Rob Diggins, Adam LaMotte (violins)
Portland Baroque Orchestra/Monica Huggett
rec. 7-11 October 2013, St Anne's Chapel, Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, OR, USA. DDD

For a long time Bach's oeuvre for solo violin(s) and strings was confined to the three concertos which have the numbers BWV 1041-1043. However, it was generally assumed that his harpsichord concertos were arrangements of concertos which were first written for other instruments: the violin, the oboe or the oboe d'amore. Only in one case have both the original and the arrangement been preserved: the Concerto for two harpsichords in C minor (BWV 1062) is a reworking of the Concerto for two violins in d minor (BWV 1043). Several attempts have been made to reconstruct other concertos and these are available in various recordings.

The present disc includes two reconstructions, both of which are only known in a scoring for three harpsichords. The best-known of these is the Concerto in D (BWV 1064R) which today is part of the standard repertoire of baroque orchestras. Some readers may have one or various recordings in their collection, for instance by the Freiburger Barockorchester (Harmonia mundi, 2013). If they listen to the performance by the Portland Baroque Orchestra - or rather members of it - they will notice quite a few differences. This version is a 'pasticcio' of various reconstructions, and one of the main differences is that here the ripieno parts have been omitted. If you know this concerto it will probably take time to get used to this version.

The Concerto in d minor (BWV 1063) is far less common in a version for three violins. I don't know whether it has been recorded before in a reconstruction of what may have been the original scoring. There are some differences of opinion about what that original scoring might have been. Jude Ziliak, in the liner-notes, states that "[the] three solo parts are both unequal in prominence and differing in figuration, which might indicate that they were written for unequal instruments". Christopher Hogwood made a reconstruction for violin, flute and oboe, by analogy with a concerto by Johann David Heinichen. I don't know if that has ever been recorded; certainly I haven't heard it. This was also the first time that I heard this concerto for other instruments than three harpsichords, and so far I am not really convinced by the results. Maybe it is just something one has to get used to, but I had other experiences with the concerto BWV 1064 which sounded very natural to me when I heard it for the first time.

The other concertos here are very familiar and available in many recordings. I am not sure whether these performances are a really great addition to the discography. The Portland Baroque Orchestra is a fine ensemble and the soloists are excellent musicians in their own right. However, it was only the Concerto in E (BWV 1042) which really satisfied me. In others I found the sound rather unpleasantly sharp, especially in the Concerto in a minor, but the same goes for the above-mentioned reconstruction of BWV 1063. The Concerto in d minor (BWV 1043) is only slightly better; here I would have preferred a clearer articulation in the solo parts in the largo ma non tanto and a stronger differentiation between good and bad notes.

The fact that I don't like the sound of the ensemble is probably partly due to the recording. The acoustic is pretty dry, and there is hardly any reverberation. The miking seems also a bit too close.

All in all, this disc is more interesting from a historical point of view than musically satisfying.

Johan van Veen

Previous review: Michael Cookson



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger