"…As usual, Ancalagon gives us an absolutely first-rate production, superb booklet notes in full color, and some of the best Super Audio surround sound on the market today. I keep insisting that small group chamber music provides some of the best opportunities to show off surround sound, and this disc proves the point. When the music is as brilliant and sparkling as we have here—Bach would certainly be thrilled—there simply remains no excuse under the sun to avoid acquiring this disc immediately. This composer oozes from the souls of these two performers." 5/5 ~Audiophile Audition
Their Warner Classics debut makes clear that Christina & Michelle Naughton show great imagination in their programming: Messiaen's mystical and epic Visions de l'Amen, composed during World War II, appears alongside John Adams' boisterous and percussive Hallelujah Junction, inspired by a truck stop on the border of Nevada and California. The CD is completed with J.S. Bach's serenely moving Gotttes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106, in an arrangement by the contemporary Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag.
The pellucid simplicity of Bruno Canino's pianoplaying is the perfect partner for the fine silver of Viktoria Mullova's violin playing. Here it is at its most refined, even its most austere. The Adagio of the B minor Sonata contains absolutely nothing extraneous to a perception of the melody's own contours: no gloss of dynamic or movement, just a sense of totally secure accomplishment, sophisticated timbre and phrasing.
Violinist Tim Fain has worked extensively with minimalist composer Philip Glass in performances and in the preparation of new pieces, and the most impressive result of their collaboration may be the Partita for solo violin (2010), a seven-movement suite written especially for Fain. Associations with Johann Sebastian Bach's violin partitas are inevitable, and it's clear that Glass has had them in mind while composing in what can be described as an aspirational, rather than a merely imitative, manner. Glass has for the most part avoided his customary ostinatos and static sections, and his use of broken chords only suggests counterpoint, rather than propulsive rhythmic patterns. He has also eschewed any direct references to Bach or Baroque style, yet the Partita's kinship with the older models is certainly felt, and Fain's playing has a lot to do with it. The ebb and flow of tempos and the expressive use of rubato give the Partita an introspective feeling, and the freedom of individual expression is quite removed from the locked-in, high-energy ensemble playing that was Glass' early trademark style.
A star of Janine Jansen's status and influence could have a major orchestra accompany her in Bach's violin concertos, but she chooses instead to keep her hand-picked ensemble small and intimate, and enjoys the camaraderie of a chamber group. Indeed, the assembly of friends who join Jansen in the Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042; Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041; and Concerto for violin and oboe in C minor, BWV 1060, number no more than 12 players, and includes her brother Maarten Jansen on cello and her father, Jan Jansen, on harpsichord, as well as her touring colleague, oboist Ramón Ortega Quero. Such familiarity yields music of considerable verve and spontaneity, and wherever Jansen leads her musicians, they are quick to follow.
[…] Per la viola da gamba is a solid, entirely satisfying, and authoritative-sounding hour of Bach. In particular, the gamba and lute transformation of Bach's "doubtful" Violin Sonata, BWV 1025, utilizing Sylvius Leopold Weiss' original lute part and transposing the Bach's violin part down an octave, sounds more natural and authentic than the familiar "doubtful" version. The Sonata BWV 1029 is played as a trio with continuo, and this approach lends a concertato effect to the sonata, which works well due to the obviously close relationship between this work and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. (Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide)