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Concertos - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
There are numerous recordings of Bach's concertos avec plusieurs instruments, or with several instruments, as he called them. Posterity has labeled them double and triple concertos, but Bach's characterization lends support to Rachel Podger's interpretation here, which is based on the supposition that Bach's orchestra in such works consisted of one instrument per part. There are still many objections to this idea, beginning with the fact that the concertos of Vivaldi that served as Bach's model were demonstrably played by larger forces (Rousseau called the ensemble at the Ospedale della Pietà a "great orchestra"). However, if you want to try out Podger's playing, or the one-instrument-per-part approach, or historically oriented performance in general, this release (or its companion album of violin concertos) makes a good starting point. Podger, who has emerged as one of the leading Baroque violin players in Britain, is altogether appealing here, interacting almost playfully with her partner soloists and her hand-picked and -developed Brecon Baroque ensemble, and delivering sober slow movements that correctly prize contrapuntal detail. The one-instrument-per-part idea is especially defensible in these concertos even if you don't buy it general; Bach even called the Concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043, a "concerto a sei," concerto for six. The Baroque-era instruments have wonderful timbres that define the constantly shifting textures of this music (its primary appeal) beautifully, and the Challenge Classics engineering team gets a big sound out of London's St. John the Evangelist church without booming resonance or stodgy cathedral hollowness. Very well done on all counts. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released March 23, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Exceptional Sound Recording
After the volumes dedicated to Vivaldi's great instrumental cycles, La Stravaganza (2004), La Cetra (2012) and L’Estro armonico (2015), English violinist Rachel Podger continues her work with her Brecon Baroque ensemble to bring out this version of the Four Seasons, which is rounded off with three violin concertos. Brecon Baroque is an offshoot of the festival of the same name that takes place every year at the end of October, in Wales. A magical place at the confluence of two rivers, where the spectacular countryside draws visitors every year in their hundreds. A passionate fan of the music of Vivaldi and Biber, Rachel Podger, who studied in Germany, demonstrates through her performances just how much the Red Priest's music (and her herself, following Biber) can cloak itself in the mysterious and bizarre, to the point that Vivaldi appears here as a distant descendant of the mannerists from the late Renaissance and early Baroque period. This is a particularly interesting and successful take.
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Classical - Released March 10, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Month
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Classical - Released September 27, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The Rosary Sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704), a cycle formed of fifteen sonatas for violin with basso continuo and a passacaglia for solo violin, are part of a creative movement that took place during the seventeenth century which forged daring, experimentation, exploration, and a deepening of difficult instrumental technique. This current was made possible by the proliferation of advanced instruments being exported from Italy, and it found fertile ground in central Europe with Schmelzer, amongst others, and a next generation that included Westhoff and, of course, Biber. The Rosary Sonatas require a soloist with a serious capacity for abstraction: indeed, most of them are written according to the principle of the scordat[t]ura, meaning that one or more strings of the violin are tuned differently from the usual sol-la-re-mi. The tuning, then, does not accord with what is usually intended in violin scores, since the detuned strings become transposed. In other words, certain notes sound like what is written, whilst others resonate differently, depending on the particular chord imposed by the composer. The instrumentalist should, therefore, do the same thing that you do when keys on your computer keyboard provide different letters than those signalled, that is, act as if nothing has happened! And, in the piece, in order to change the tone of the instrument, and to permit the creation of some different chords, open strings are used. What Biber offers us here is an infinitely confusing piece of music, manipulating unheard-of sounds and incongruous harmonies – both melodic and harmonic – in an amazing musical journey that puts him quite apart from the rest of the Baroque world. In the late 1670s the work was not fully understood, so much so that the score was almost forgotten, before experiencing a brilliant resurrection in the early twentieth century. This version was recorded by the English violinist Rachel Podger, a true star of the baroque instrument. Here, after her excursions in Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, and some other important composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which were all heralded by awards and other successes, she reveals the buried treasures of this true masterpiece. Accompanied by some fantastic instrumental friends (including Marcin Świątkiewicz on the keyboards, distinguished by his brilliant Müthel opus which was published by BIS a few months back, the violist Jonathan Manson, who regularly collaborates with the violonist and Trevor Pinnock), Rachel Podger expertly exploits this narrative poetry collection, distilling phrases of great elegance, and deploying a haunting sound. A truly mystical experience! © Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 22, 2014 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Violin Solos - Released April 19, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Baroque violinist Rachel Podger is right that Bach's output is riddled with transcriptions, and that the same is true of the performance history of his works. Hence, she is on solid historical ground here, with at least the first five of Bach's six Suites for Solo Cello, BWV 1007-1012. The Suite No. 6 for solo cello, BWV 1012, is a different story: the work was written for a five-string cello, giving it a range that puts it out of reach of any violin, Baroque or otherwise. This one was accomplished with studio trickery, which has its place, but is intrusive here. Another complaint is the cavernous recital hall sound in what is manifestly chamber music. For the most part, though, Podger is enjoyable to listen to here. She makes the cello suites, for the most part, into violin music; putting some zip into the faster dances so they avoid the more deliberate mood of the cello. Her vivacious style comes through in movements like the Bourrée from the Suite for solo cello No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010. The slower dances are by no means unpleasant, but here the transformation is a bit less successful. Part of the appeal of the cello suites is that they are among those works, like Beethoven's Ninth, that lie at the limits of performers' capabilities. Here those limits are not a question of the voice, or the speed of the fingers, but of the capability of a cello to realize the implied polyphony in Bach's music. On a Baroque violin there is not the same kind of struggle. Nevertheless, Podger fans will find plenty to like here. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 17, 2004 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released September 16, 2016 | Channel Classics Records

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Duets - Released April 19, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

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Fans who were blown away by Rachel Podger's acclaimed Bach and Telemann recordings have no doubt waited with baited breath for her to work the same magic on Mozart's sonatas for keyboard and violin. That these sonatas are largely -- though not always -- stacked against the violin is not an impediment to enjoyment, nor is the quirky quality of the fortepiano an obstacle: Podger is clearly the star of this recording, and her vivid playing always draws the listener's attention and admiration. Partly due to her strength and confidence, but also to the fascinating sounds she produces on her 1739 Pesarinius violin, Podger is always at the forefront and a delight to hear, even when Mozart gives her next to nothing to do. Even the tedious staccato arpeggios in the Andante of K. 6 are interesting here, proof positive that Podger can make music out of the flimsiest material. Gary Cooper is an enthusiastic partner to Podger, and his accompaniment is idiomatic and quite expressive; though the sound of the fortepiano may be an acquired taste for some, Cooper controls its timbres well enough to keep it from sounding too tinny or boxy. Channel Classics provides terrific sound on this SACD, though it is not compatible with some CD players, contrary to the label's claim. © TiVo
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Violin Solos - Released April 19, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Channel Classics Records

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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

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