Giuliano Carmignola, we’re informed on the back of this CD’s case, ‘seeks to cast fresh light upon these much-loved masterpieces by imbuing them with all the joyfulness of his Venetian sound’. You could say this is as much a warning as it is a USP: if you like your Bach monumental and solemn, Carmingnola’s folky exuberance and springy bow may feel like too much of his personality foisted on the music. But with an open mind, it’s impossible not to enjoy this disc. It achieves exactly what it proudly sets out to, eagerly assisted by the twinkle-toed Concerto Köln.
It includes the two ubiquitous violin concertos (A minor and E major), the double concerto in D minor (with Carmignola well matched by Mayumi Hirasaki, stepping up from within the ensemble), plus two convincing new reconstructions of concertos which, though probably originally written for violin, survive only in harpsichord concerto versions (the G minor BWV 1056 and D minor BWV 1052). At over 70 minutes of music, it goes a fair way towards justifying its premium price.
If it is the fast movements which show off Carmignola’s pizzazz, he also has plenty of sweetly lyrical qualities to bring in the Largos and Adagios – the merest smidge of vibrato at the ends of long notes, everything else achieved by subtle phrase shaping and that nimble bowing arm.