Beyond Bach and Vivaldi – Rare Unaccompanied Works for the Baroque Violin
Augusta McKay Lodge (violin)
We have previously chosen to highlight a recording from Naxos’ Laureate Series featuring the talented guitarist Xianji Liu. This time we feature an equally praiseworthy performance from the violinist Augusta McKay Lodge. Augusta McKay Lodge is an international prize-winning violinist specialising in Baroque and modern music. McKay Lodge is a native of Oberlin, Ohio who currently resides in New York and Paris.
There can be no denying that when it comes to works for solo violin JS Bach was the master of the Baroque period. However as this enterprising release shows there were plenty of other talented composers writing similar works at the time. Some readers will be familiar with composers such as Biber, Corelli and Locatelli and maybe Pisendel and Bononcini. But others will be unfamiliar with the likes of Nicola Matteis, Thomas Baltzar, William Corbett and others who appear on this relatively unexplored repertoire.
Augusta McKay Lodge plays a Jason Viseltear Baroque violin from 2014. Listening to her performances of the relatively popular works by Biber, Locatelli and Pisendel assists in assessing the overall quality of the performances on offer. Unsurprisingly she is not quite a match for Rachel Barton Pine in the works by Pisendel and Biber on Cedille but she puts in some fine performances of these and the other works that show that she plays with imagination as well as faultless technique. Most of the less well-know pieces are well worth hearing and the disc provides a highly enjoyable hour or so of listening. The four pieces by Baltzar whilst being challenging exercises are not the most rewarding from a listening perspective but that is quickly forgotten after the final piece: Biber’s Passacaglia in G Minor from the Mystery Sonatas. A hugely enjoyable conclusion to a very good recital that is recorded in excellent sound. This is a first class debut disc and worth adding to your collection if you have any interest in solo Baroque violin works or talented young violinists!