Tim Homfray attends the performance at London’s Wigmore Hall on 28 September 2019
There were three Bach violin concertos in this concert: the A minor and E major that we all know and love, and the G minor BWV1056, reverse-engineered from the keyboard concerto in F minor commonly held to be Bach’s arrangement of an original for violin. Before playing the E major work, Podger exuberantly exclaimed, ‘The best composer in the best hall!’ It was a concert played in true chamber-music style, with the one-to-a-part Brecon Baroque as alert to each other as they were to Podger.
The outside movements of the A minor Violin Concerto had propulsion and energy, with a strong sense of structure underpinning the seemingly instinctive shaping of phrases, and a thrilling richness of sound at climactic points. The collaborative nature of the playing was even more apparent in the E major, where cello and violone were much in evidence as Podger wove her magic above, with playing always flexible and fluid, expressive and dynamic. The finale was fast but not driven. The central Adagio was serene, with a wonderful legato. In the central Largo of the G minor Concerto Podger, who virtually had the floor to herself, was expressive, flexible and simply beautiful.