Bach in Black

Violin concertos in minor keys & selected works for alto voice
la voce strumentale, Dmitry Sinkovsky violin, countertenor, conductor
naïve OP 30567
BWV 1041, 1052, 1056, extracts from BWV 232, 244 & 245

There are a number of recordings made as “calling cards”, and this seems to be one of them as it features the variety of talents that Dmitry Sinkovsky and his Russian period instrument string ensemble ( can exhibit. But mainly just Dmitry Sinkovsky. Not only does he direct the ensemble and act as the soloist in the three Bach violin concertos – BWV 1052, BWV 1056 and BWV 1041 – all later re-worked for harpsichord; he also sings three well-known alto arias. Presumably he recorded these using a voice-over technique, as I can’t imagine he would have let the violin solo in “Erbarme dich” from the Matthew Passion be played by anyone else.

There is some odd phrasing in the arias, but what I dislike most is his tight, narrow vibrato which creates an unsuitable sound for Bach and doesn’t match the sinewy strings. Nor do I like his violin playing: it is too aggressive, too controlling and too far from the intertwined spirit of Bach. You sense that this musician is more interested in self-promotion than in serving Bach’s music.

This is not a recording that I can recommend to the readers of the EMR.

David Stancliffe