BACH DOUBLE CONCERTO: the other violinist

Edited: July 20, 2023, 5:38 AM · Why is the other soloist so often ‘hidden’ in the credits on recordings? I listened this morning to the (magnificent) recording of Bach concertos by Oscar Shumsky with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and realized that I didn’t know the name of the second soloist. It proved to be John Tunnell, founder leader of the SCO, but his name does not appear on the case or in the notes that accompany my copy, which was a freebie from Amadeus magazine. The oboist in the C minor concerto is similarly ignored. Disgraceful!

Once locked into a Google hunt, I found the LP cover of the Menuhin/Ferras recording in mono, that was mine in the 60s: Christian Ferras’ name appears in much smaller billing than Menuhin’s but at least it’s there. Incidentally, I also noticed that Spotify credits JS Bach for “song and lyrics” of the D minor concerto. Does anybody have a copy of the words? Please forward them: I’ll learn them over the summer.

Replies (16)

Edited: July 20, 2023, 6:13 AM · I find it equally objectionable when a violinist (no names..) insists on playing BOTH parts.
Edited: July 20, 2023, 7:37 AM ·

I have a recording of Heifetz playing both parts. It was one of my eye-openers to classical music when I was in 6th or 7th grade. It was pressed on a 10" disk, versus a normal 12", long play disks. I don't listen to it much any more.

At that age, was kind of impressed, but not really. (Pretty boring.)

July 20, 2023, 7:42 AM ·

Before I suspended my lessons for medical reasons, I was working on the D Minor with my teacher. (I like the 2nd violin part.) In the first part of the year, we worked through the entire 1st movement, trying out different fingerings. She's played the piece many times, so has all the fingerings.

Once my schedule settles down, I'll workin on it section by section, and as I get a given section up to my liking, we'll meet and play it together.

Edited: July 20, 2023, 12:01 PM · Suzuki's first notable student was Koji Toyoda, who recorded the 2nd violin part with....Arthur Grumiaux.
July 20, 2023, 4:07 PM · King David recorded this with his son Igor and they got equal size pictures on the album cover.

I performed this concerto with one of my chemistry students with our community orchestra! That was tremendous fun. All three movements.

July 20, 2023, 5:08 PM · @Paul - that's Divine David, not King David. He recorded a number of pieces with his son including Mozart's violin/viola duos and the Sinfonia Concertante. He played viola on all those wonderful recordings (which I have). For the Bach Double, I have a recording with Stern and Perlman. It is a Stern CD of all the Bach concerti, but Perlman certainly gets as much credit for the Double.

BTW, I also have some recordings of Oscar Shumsky and his son, Eric, another great father/son duo.

July 20, 2023, 5:18 PM · Haven't noticed that to be honest.
July 20, 2023, 6:47 PM · I think what the OP means is that the "main star" will have his name very large on the album cover and the "lesser violinist" will be in much smaller type or not even on the front of the album. What I see, however, is that this generally happens on recordings where the "main star" is also playing other works, such as the Bach A minor and E major concertos, or other double and/or triple concertos.

For example there is a HEIFETZ album of three double concertos (Bach, Brahms, and Mozart) where the names of Friedman, Primrose, and Piatigorsky are in much smaller type on the cover, but in other releases of the same album the type sizes are the same for the four players. There is album by Stern with Perlman's name in small type, but another release of the same album with same-size type. And then there is a album by Hilary Hahn with the Concerto for Two Violins and the Concerto for Violin and Oboe, and these other musicians' names do not appear on the front of the cover.

July 20, 2023, 8:00 PM · After all, there is limited area for printing on a 4.5 inch square or disk.

I have the same problem with my CD/DVD disk printer(:-)}

July 21, 2023, 1:38 AM · The famous (I guess) "east meets west" recording of Menuhin and Oistrakh on youtube is another example where the piece is used as a vehicle, this time political rather than promotional. In the largo ma non tanto the two haven't even got together and agreed about the bowing. And while Oistrakh seems very comfortable with the slow tempo, Menuhin shows signs of wanting to push on.
July 21, 2023, 1:15 PM · King David, Prince Igor.
July 22, 2023, 3:12 AM · I keep returning to this wonderful performance:
Edited: July 22, 2023, 3:41 AM · Very refreshing after Menuhin and Oistrakh, although we don't get to know either of the soloists' names! Yes of course, we can find out from youtube; they were Shunske Sato and Emily Deans. Among period instrument recordings I also like the one by Andrew Manze and Rachel Podger in which they add a few cheeky embellishments. I did the same myself once, when I and my then-partner decided to arpeggiate the chordal passages in the finale. The conductor, Ruth Gipps, wasn't entirely convinced.
July 22, 2023, 6:19 AM · @Stephen - LOL
July 22, 2023, 7:51 AM · It's a good idea to let your conductor know if you're going off script.
July 22, 2023, 7:56 AM · That’s true Paul, but what are conductors’ rights in the world of the Bach D minor double?

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