Tim Homfray hears the performance of Bach, Farina, Walther, Locatelli, Naregatsi and Schmelzer at London’s Wigmore Hall on 18 September 2023
Chouchane Siranossian gave a wide-ranging survey of the Baroque violin in this hour-long concert, from the profound via the flashy to the entirely secular. Bach’s Sonata in G major BWV1021 came first. Siranossian was poised and graceful in the opening Adagio, subtly embellishing the repeats, and followed it with a light, skipping account of the Vivace over Balázs Máté’s vigorous cello. She played the Largo as a delicate meditation, an introspection cast aside in the final exuberant Presto. Bach returned later (or possibly not) with the Adagio of his dubiously attributed Violin Sonata in C minor, given an emotionally intense performance, with Siranossian leaning into the chromaticisms, before she launched into his Fugue in G minor BWV1026 with personality and intent, relishing the double-stops and carrying off the quaver passagework with panache.
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In between the Bach works came Farina’s Sonata quinta detta ‘La farina’, a thoughtful piece constantly interrupted by virtuosic outbursts, played with rhythmic verve. Later came three works segued together: Johann Jakob Walther’s Passacaglia from his Seventh Sonata and Locatelli’s Sonata in D minor, with its unabashed virtuosic showmanship, both dashed off in style, and between them an intimate improvisation on the hymn Havun Havun by the tenth-century Armenian monk Krikor Naregatsi. Finally came a piece of pure theatre, Schmelzer’s Sonata ‘Victori der Christen’, in which the three players graphically defeated the Turks at the battle of Vienna.