Lara St. John substitutes harp for harpsichord in Bach sonatas with Marie-Pierre Langlamet on Ancalagon
Violinist Lara St. John has partnered with Marie-Pierre Langlamet, principal harp with the Berlin Philharmonic, for a recording of Bach sonatas originally composed for violin, flute and harpsichord.
The disc marks the third all-Bach recording by the Canadian violinist on her own Ancalagon label, and follows last year’s disc of concertos
Of the thinking behind the new disc, St. John says that despite being familiar with the Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, they had always “eluded” her. “Somehow I never thought they quite clicked. With harpsichord, I found them rather unsubtle, and modern piano always seemed so heavy-handed and just not quite right.
“A few years ago, I was in Berlin staying with my old friend Marie-Pierre, and she wanted to read some Bach. We began with BWV 1016, and it was a revelation. All of a sudden, this music made sense. With harp as a partner, the degree of nuance made possible for the violin created an entirely new experience. I thought that evening that I had never heard or been part of anything so beautiful.
“For this recording, we chose sonatas that could be performed by Marie-Pierre exactly as written. In her hands, the harp is a true multi-voice instrument – an equal partner in the faster movements, yet capable of an aural luminescence in the quieter movements that no keyboard could ever match.”
Bach Sonatas includes the First and Third Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord (BWV 1014 and 1016); the Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord in G minor (BWV 1020) and B minor (BWV 1030);
and the ‘Siciliano’ from the Bach-attributed E-flat major Sonata
Already available on iTunes, the disc will be released worldwide on February 14.