The Bach sonatas and partitas for unaccompanied violin are crucial works, the "Bible of music," as Gidon Kremer put it. Most serious listeners have more than one recording of them, and I find myself returning to many interpretations and always willing to listen to more. Ionarts has reviewed recordings by Gidon Kremer, Julia Fischer, and Rachel Podger, but also professed admiration for Nathan Milstein, Arthur Grumiaux, Shlomo Mintz, Itzhak Perlman, and Jascha Heifetz. Choice is not the problem, and here are two new recordings to consider for your bulging shelf.
|Available at Amazon:|
J. S. Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, John Holloway, Baroque violin (released October 10, 2006)
I am convinced by Holloway's argument in his liner notes, that his experience as an early music specialist (working with Andrew Manze and Roger Norrington, among others) gives him a different perspective on the works of Bach. Performers who focus on mostly later music do not have enough experience playing Baroque dance music (preferably in the context of actual danced performances), which is crucial to understanding so much Baroque music, including the partitas. Holloway's performance of the Giga from Partita No. 2 is a vital, irrepressible romp of a dance, for example. He does push the tempi to a degree, with track timings that are often much shorter than Fischer's reading, and some movements with big multiple stops suffer. The famous Ciaccona is seductive and quick (13:04), although I remain strongly in the camp of Rachel Podger's rendition (13:36), although at least some of Holloway's tracks will likely make it into the "dream" compilation of the complete sonatas and partitas I intend to make on my MP3 player.
ECM New Series 1909/10
J. S. Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Christian Tetzlaff (April 10, 2007)
Bach Sonatas and Partitas (Virgin, 2002), in half-price 4-CD set with Ralph Kirshbaum playing the Bach cello suites (thanks, Jens!)
Hänssler Classic 5287318
Czech conductor Jiří Bĕlohlávek leads the NSO concerts this week (April 19 to 21), in an appealing program of mostly Czech music. Christian Tetzlaff will play as soloist for Mozart's third violin concerto (G major, K. 216) and for the NSO premiere of Janáček's Wandering of a Little Soul, a reconstructed violin concerto.