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Steven Staryk: A Retrospective, Vol. 3 - Bach

Bach,J.s. / Staryk / Haitink
Release Date: 01/22/2013 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3211   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven StarykKenneth Gilbert
Conductor:  Bernard HaitinkSteven Staryk
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Steven Staryk—A Retrospective: Volume 3 Steven Staryk (vn, cond); 1 Bernard Haitink (cond); 1 Royal Concertgebouw O; 2 Vancouver Baroque O; 3 Kenneth Gilbert (hpd) CENTAUR 3211 (72:34)

BACH Violin Concertos: No. 1 in a; Read more class="SUPER12">1 No 2 in E. 2 Sonatas 3 BWV 1023 and 1020 . Violin Partita No. 2

I have two confessions to make. First, Steven Staryk’s name did not immediately ring my bell. Second, I haven’t really kept up with the current activity on the Bach violin concerto front. To dispose of the second, I’ll have to say that I’ve lived comfortably with the relatively ancient versions by Alice Harnoncourt (Teldec) and Janós Rolla (Hungaroton) for, lo, these many years. As for Staryk, this release is the first I’ve encountered of him as a soloist, though it turns out that I must have heard him many times in his roles as concertmaster of the Concertgebouw and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. A quick search of Wikipedia reveals that he was named “King of Concertmasters” by Strad Magazine upon being appointed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to that post at the tender age of 24. He’s also served as concertmaster with the Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Incidentally, Wikipedia also mentioned that Staryk was denied entry into the United States during the McCarthy era, presumably because of his Ukrainian heritage. He is in fact a native-born Canadian and more relevantly a supremely accomplished musician. I liked especially the sonatas, made in 1967 with his fellow Canadian, Kenneth Gilbert, despite an occasional rhetorical bit that he might not have made in later years. The Partita was seamlessly stitched together from two performances made 16 years and two continents apart. I could have done without extended applause after the famous Chaconne, though I’ll admit he earned it, probably more. The A-Minor Concerto, recorded in 1961, apparently when Staryk was concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, is a solid performance, but not one that I’m likely to come back to. The E-Major Concerto, made in 1975 with a smaller ensemble and conducted by Staryk himself, was more satisfying and more cleanly recorded. The constant throughout the disc, though, is Staryk’s beautifully focused, technically impeccable playing.

The cover features a blurb from the New York Times, “…irreproachable…technically, tonally and musically,” which has it about right. Another source, Fono Forum , Germany, is quoted inside the booklet: “It is strange that Staryk’s fame didn’t spread throughout the world…a curious phenomenon within the music scene.” I can relate to that. This is the third volume of Centaur’s six-disc retrospective of Staryk’s recordings. A 30-disc anthology is available as well. Violin lovers of the world, take notice!

FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin no 1 in A minor, BWV 1041 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1961 
Venue:  Live  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam 
Length: 13 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in E minor, BWV 1023 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Kenneth Gilbert (Harpsichord), Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  The Church of St. John the Evangelist, M 
Length: 7 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 23 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in G minor, BWV 1020 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin), Kenneth Gilbert (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 1967 
Venue:  The Church of St. John the Evangelist, M 
Length: 9 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin no 2 in E major, BWV 1042 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Steven Staryk (Violin)
Conductor:  Steven Staryk
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1975 
Venue:  CBC Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 
Length: 16 Minutes 22 Secs. 

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