Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo, violins
Two X Four
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
Vinay Parameswaran, conductor
Jennifer Koh is no stranger to Buffalo. She played the Barber Concerto a few years ago with the BPO, and she played on the dear departed Ramsi P. Tick Memorial Concert Series. On this disc she is joined by her former teacher, Jaime Laredo, who was just here a few weeks ago, playing with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson trio to close the Buffalo Chamber Music Society season. Koh is the kind of violinist who really feels her music, and the two of them make a good team.
The highlight, of course, is Bach’s great Concerto For Two Violins in D Minor, with its sublime, smoldering slow movement. This is one of the pinnacles of human achievement, rendered beautifully by Koh and Laredo, both of whom add their own personal touches. The last movement is tense and nervous. The Bach deserves the perfect four stars, but the average comes down because of the dull works by Anna Clyne and David Ludwig that follow.
Clyne’s “Prince of Clouds” is grating and dislikable, and so is David Ludwig’s “Seasons Lost.” All I can think is there was grant money flying around (the disc was funded in part by a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund For Music). You almost want to kiss Philip Glass, whose seven-minute “Echorus” is between these two works. At least with him you know what you’re getting, and it can be kind of fun and pleasantly hypnotic.
– Mary Kunz Goldman