Alina Ibragimova is a shining example of the modern young soloist, as happy to adopt period instrument modes and manners as to premiere new works or uncover neglected repertoire. Her new recording of Bach's Violin Concertos opens with two 'proper' (and much recorded) concertos that Bach actually wrote for the violin: BWV 1041 and 1042 in the numbering of the universally accepted catalogue of Bach’s works. Alongside them, Ibragimova offers three concertos that are 'reconstructed' from keyboard concertos, two of which themselves may actually derive from lost violin concertos.
If that all sounds rather academic, Ibragimova’s performances are anything but. There is exuberance as well as lithe grace in the way she points up Bach’s dance rhythms, while in the slow movements there’s a hushed intimacy, as if we’re overhearing an ardent conversation between friends.
Her accompanists are the 14 members of Arcangelo, conducted from the harpsichord by Jonathan Cohen. On her Channel Classics recording of Bach Violin Concertos, Rachel Podger made do with an ensemble of six, yet Arcangelo’s sound is by no means congested. Instead, it’s light and airy, while Thomas Dunford’s lute, placed well forward in the mix, has an improvisatory quality that acts as a spur to Ibragimova’s high-spirited virtuosity.