⁠Marking their first appearance on Swedish record label BIS, and produced by ten-time Grammy Award-winner Judith Sherman, the disc features concertante violin works performed by concertmaster Margaret Batjer.

Concertmaster Margaret Batjer
Concertmaster Margaret Batjer

The disc opens with a 26-minute Violin Concerto by composer Pierre Jalbert. The concerto, featuring Batjer in the role of soloist, was a LACO commission and here makes its first recorded appearance.

The next work takes us to 18th-century Germany, where Bach had been busy studying the concertos of his Italian colleagues, especially Vivaldi. His Concerto in A minor is thought to have been composed around 1730, at a time when Bach had freed himself from his models, producing works richer in both texture and sentiment. For the second half of the program we return to our own time, traveling north to the Baltic countries, as Bach is followed by one of his great admirers in modern music, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Margaret Batjer and the Orchestra offer us their performance of what is probably Pärt’s most famous piece, Fratres from 1977. Originally written for chamber ensemble ‘without fixed instrumentation’, it soon became a modern classic and exists in numerous versions. The one heard here, for violin, string orchestra and percussion, was made by the composer in 1992.

The closing Lonely Angel is by Pärt’s slightly younger colleague Peteris Vasks from Latvia. Reworked from a movement for string quartet, the piece was inspired by a particular image: ‘I saw an angel, flying over the world; the angel looks at the world’s condition with grieving eyes, but an almost imperceptible, loving touch of the angel’s wings brings comfort…’

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