Review: Early music - late Baroque - Bach 

Rachel Barton Pine and Jory Vinikour join for a Bach recital

click to enlarge Violinist Rachel Barton Pine
  • Violinist Rachel Barton Pine

It was time for Bach to be reintroduced to the Indianapolis Early Music festival. Not one piece by Johann Sebastian appeared in last summer's IEM, and few have been scattered thither and yon in preceding summers. Ergo an all-Bach violin-harpsichord recital was welcome indeed on Sunday afternoon, especially with performers Rachel Barton Pine, violinist, and Jory Vinikour, harpsichordist. They played as a duo in two of the four works presented, with each soloing in the other two.

The Partita for Solo Violin in D Minor was the recital's high point, which reaches a pinnacle in the famous, extended "Ciaconna" (Chaconne), so often heard in Indy's quadrennial Violin Competition (with the next one slated for 2018). Pine's 18th-century instrument, coupled with her playing of it, produced rich, dulcet tones, perfectly nuanced dynamically. Moreover Pine's completely white (i.e. vibratoless) bowing sacrificed no opulence, and, in fact, showed that vibrating the fingerboard strings is unnecessary, at least in a seminal work of this period. Pine is surly one of the greatest Baroque violinists performing before the public.

Vinikour's solo work, the Partita for Harpsichord in D explored seven Baroque dance forms: "Ouverture," "Allemande," "Courante," "Air," "Sarabande," "Menuet" and "Gigue." What Pine is to the violin, Vinikour is to the harpsichord, with the proviso that the latter instrument's loudness is invariant--hence no dynamic nuances. Still Vinikour is a proven master of this keyboard as he waded through Bach's complex figurations to perfection.

Bookending these two solo works were the opening Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in A and the ending one in C Minor. The duo's collaborative efforts were spot on as they sailed through the thickets of Bach's counterpoint. The next IEM program this coming Friday will feature theorbo and baroque guitar player Xavier Diaz-Latorre in the first solo-artist recital since before 2008. June 20

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