Having all of these works collected together is a real treasure. It is one of the most beautiful collections I've heard. 5 cd's of all of Bach's chamber music, exquisitely performed by the outstanding soloists of Musica Antiqua Koln. Reinhard Goebel's performance of the violin works is simply perfect. As I've said before, Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord have been in the shadows for too long, they deserve to be heard and this performance proves it. They are a delightful partnership between violin and harpsichord. The tempos are fairly brisk but the performance is so clearly articulated that the result is energetic and very rewarding.
Few violinists can move between a modern instrument and a period one with such ease—not to mention with such an idiomatic approach to so many styles of music—as Isabelle Faust. Following her award-winning set of the Mozart violin concertos, the German is joined by the ever-stylish keyboard player Kristian Bezuidenhout for Bach’s sonatas for violin and harpsichord. Both instruments sound magnificent, and these two great players bring breathtaking invention and imagination to the six sonatas. The humanity and warmth of Bach’s music is extraordinary, especially when played with the passion and flair encountered here.
Say what you will about scanty biographical material and uncertain personal links, it nevertheless seems entirely probable that Bach wrote at least some of his sonatas and partitas for violin solo after his first wife's death in 1720. In this second volume of Hélène Schmitt recordings of the works, her performance of the monumental A minor Sonata No. 2 is so passionate, so rhapsodic, and so expressive that the spirit of loss and grief fills the music like inconsolable tears.
This wild recording, the first volume of two covering all the Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin, may well polarize listeners into attitudes of love and hate. French violinist Hélène Schmitt delivers readings of the first sonata and the first two partitas that are nowhere near the mainstream for these celebrated works, which are generally regarded as icons of Bach's intellectual accomplishment and have been subjected to all kinds of numerological analysis.
The first thing to strike the listener about these 2006 Avie recordings of Bach's Sonata for viola da gamba and harpsichord will be how loud they are. While neither instrument is noted for its power to project, the instruments are recorded so closely here as to be gargantuan in these recordings by Jonathan Manson and Trevor Pinnock. After adjusting the volume, the second thing to strike the listener will be how brilliantly played they are.
Much of Bach's music is abstract enough that it can easily be arranged for new instrumental combinations, and often was by the composer himself. The music for unaccompanied violin and for unaccompanied cello forms an exceptional case; the sonatas and partitas for solo violin were part of a long tradition of virtuoso violin music to which Bach was making a conscious contribution, and the six suites for solo cello were written as extensions of the ideas in the violin pieces. Transferring the cello suites to a solo recorder, which is incapable of executing many details of the cello scores, is thus something Bach probably wouldn't have countenanced. ..