Author Topic: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)  (Read 89923 times)

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Offline Ras

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #280 on: November 16, 2019, 11:07:30 AM »
I got the impression Holloway (physical CDs) is OOP and nearly impossible to find.

A good alternative to Holloway (which is out of print on cd) is Christine Busch on the Phi label. Like Holloway she plays Bach in a similar fashion with a "clean" approach compared to what I hear as a "rough" approach. Sigiswald Kuijken is also good, but his sound is very "rough". Christine Busch's recording happens to be my favorite.



There is also a period recording by Richard Tognetti which is similar in approach to Holloway and C. Busch. :



You may want to hear Amadine Beyer too.
(I'm not that crazy about it mysel but there are fans...)


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Offline Ras

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #281 on: November 16, 2019, 11:11:20 AM »
T. D.

If you are desperate to get Holloway on CD somebody is selling a used one on amazon for 30 dollars:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000HWXS1O/ref=tmm_acd_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=1573931129&sr=8-1
"Music is life and, like it, inextinguishable." - Carl Nielsen

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #282 on: December 15, 2019, 08:47:39 AM »
Holloway's Bach on ECM can be streamed on Spotify, and presumably on other streaming services.

End-of-decade summary

In this round-up I'm concentrating on recordings from the last 30 years and not generally including the golden age fiddlers (Szeryng, Ricci, Haendel, Martzy etc) nor their young pretenders (Perlmann, Zukerman, Chung, Midori etc) and I for one will be grateful if someone else who is more attuned to these artists will come along and fill some gaps.
Also I'm excluding here any non-violin recordings (cello, keyboard etc) although some of these are very worthy of mention elsewhere in the thread.  I'm also not mentioning part-sets.

We did a blind comparison starting in late 2015 which included several of the most highly-regarded modern recordings up to that point.  We didn't get enough data points really, but even so the result seemed to me to chime fairly well with GMG preferences as expressed in this thread and others.  I'll re-state those results first and then go on to list several noteworthy recordings that have appeared since that date.  It won't be a complete survey - not anything like.  Again, I hope others can fill in some gaps.

Blind comparison results (2016)
24  Thomas Zehetmair **
22= Sigiswald Kuijken, Monica Huggett
21  Lara St John
19= Nathan Milstein (DG), Paolo Ghidoni
18  Richard Tognetti
17  Helene Schmitt
14= Amandine Beyer, Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch, Christian Tetzlaff (Hanssler)**
13  Gidon Kremer
12  Rachel Podger ( a definite blip in the results, Podger is generally much liked on GMG)
11  Christiane Edinger
6=  John Holloway, Isabelle Faust, Masayuki Kino, Ingrid Matthews, Christine Busch

Those marked ** - should not be confused with recent re-recordings by these artists.

That group on equal 6th is a fine pool of talent who were unlucky not to make it into the final.  These represent my benchmark for any newer releases to seem noteworthy.
Before going on to the five finalists, I'll mention a few recordings that I had lined up for the comparison but eventually ended on the cutting room floor - just putting these names out there so they aren't forgotten forever:
Jascha Heifetz, Ida Haendel, Oleg Kagan
Lara Lev, James Ehnes, Rudolf Gahler

The following attached comments are from the blind listening panel members at the time:
5   Alina Ibragimova (Hyperion)
"I like this pure, minimalistic reading."
3=  Julia Fischer (Pentatone)
"I am simply drawn in by this performer. ... Real drama here. Varied sound. Wonderful interpretive elements."
3=  Arthur Grumiaux (Philips)
"Energetic, dramatic, and even enigmatic at times!"
2   Lucy van Dael (Naxos) (this was a very clear 2nd place, ahead of all those listed above)
"Incredible Adagio: not just dramatic, but tragic, a sad tale told by an ancient looking back at something pivotal, something central, and sighingly sinking down into gloom."
"Back to old and almost-perfect ... I suspect some interesting musicianship behind this."



1   Viktoria Mullova (Onyx) (again this was a very clear 1st place, after 3 rounds of listening)
"This one grabbed my attention with its delicacy and subtlety in the Adagio which created an almost mystical atmosphere throughout."
"Finally a performer who makes me feel something. ... I like this performance a lot."
"This is a fine integrated and expressive performance"



Given the clear lead for Mullova (80%) over val Dael (74%) and the best of the rest (63%), along with other favourable impressions in this thread and elsewhere, if you had to choose a single version of the Sonatas & Partitas to take to your desert island five years ago, I think it would be difficult to justify choosing any other recording except this one.

Two other recordings that I'm very sorry weren't included in the comparison - one was just an oversight on my part, the other was released only weeks after the deadline for starting the comparison - I feel sure that either would have at least reached the level of the 'equal 6th' group:
Brian Brooks (Arts) (2006)

I belatedly discovered this about 3 years ago and it has become a firm favourite with me.  Middle-of-the-road HIP (like Mullova) but a rather gruff, dare I say masculine approach, very agile and without much beauty of tone, quite unlike any of the top 5 listed above.

Rachel Barton Pine (Avie) (2016)

This is severe, uncompromising, hard-core HIP, to my ears rather similar to Ingrid Matthews.  A contender for sure.

The release of Carmignola's very worthwhile set in 2018 lead to a brief survey of other recordings to appear in the interim between start 2016 and end 2018 and I'm here updating that to the present - this is not an exhaustive list, and I haven't sampled them all by any means, but most have had a mention somewhere before - I'm just putting these out there - in no particular order - brief comments attached to some of them but don't take my word for it:
Giuliano Carmignola (DG)

Keenly anticipated (by me at least), inevitably couldn't quite live up to those expectations.  Even so, a likely finalist I would think, possibly the best recording by a male violinist since Grumiaux.

Gottfried von der Goltz (Aparte)

Very worthwhile, has found some favour on GMG.  I find this a very literal-minded presentation of the music as laid out in the score, without much personality projected on it.  Equal 6th though for sure.

Pavel Šporcl (Supraphon)


Christoph Schickedanz (Audite)


Milan Pala (Pavlik)

Very interesting but not a 1st-choice contender.

Boris Begelman (DHM)

Interesting, good, but not quite outstanding.

Christian Tetzlaff (Ondine) (2017 - not to be confused with his earlier recording(s))

I like this one.  With a sweet and rather feminine sound, he reminds me a bit of Fischer.   Equal 6th at least, strong competition for Carmignola.

Gunar Letzbor (Pan)
 
Something of an outlier - very closely recorded, to be honest quite hard to listen to, but fascinating in small doses.  Would be a 'foil' for one of the sweeter renditions such as Fischer, Carmignola, Tetzlaff or Kuusisto - but not recommendable as an only recording.

Pavlo Beznosiuk (2011, re-issued in 2016 on the Linn label)


Michelle Ross (Albany)


Keiko Urushihara (Nippon)


Mie Kobayashi (Exton)


Hilary Hahn (Decca and Sony - two part-sets widely separated in recording date)
 
What little I've listened to (the 2nd Sonata), I've enjoyed very much indeed.

Ning Feng (Channel)


Jaakko Kuusisto (BIS)

If you want 'beautiful' check this one out.  Too rich for me but as a contrast to Letzbor, Pine or Matthews, it's very effective.  Could slip in as an equal-6th-er.

Mikhail Pochekin (Solo Musica)


Thomas Zehetmair (ECM) (2019 - not to be confused with his earlier recording)

A big improvement on his previous effort, but I still have a few reservations - reverbrant acoustic, more ornamentation than I personally like to hear - but there's a lot to like as well.  Not quite a contender for me, but others may disagree.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 08:57:32 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #283 on: December 15, 2019, 08:54:10 AM »


Thomas Zehetmair (ECM) (2019 - not to be confused with his earlier recording)

A big improvement on his previous effort, but I still have a few reservations - reverbrant acoustic, more ornamentation than I persoanlly like to hear - but there's a lot to like as well.  Not quite a contender for me, but others may disagree.

Dislike it enormously.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #284 on: December 15, 2019, 09:10:03 AM »
Thomas Zehetmair (ECM) (2019 - not to be confused with his earlier recording)

A big improvement on his previous effort, but I still have a few reservations - reverbrant acoustic, more ornamentation than I personally like to hear - but there's a lot to like as well.  Not quite a contender for me, but others may disagree.

Dislike it enormously.

Oh, I like it.   ;)

Offline André

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #285 on: December 15, 2019, 11:56:29 AM »
I saw no mention of Benjamin Schmid in this thread. Is it a sign of the thumb down ?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #286 on: December 15, 2019, 12:46:38 PM »
I saw no mention of Benjamin Schmid in this thread. Is it a sign of the thumb down ?

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline André

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #287 on: December 15, 2019, 02:15:56 PM »
Explain, please.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #288 on: December 15, 2019, 02:39:17 PM »
Holloway's Bach on ECM can be streamed on Spotify, and presumably on other streaming services.

End-of-decade summary

This may be a dumb question, which subforum was this blind test posted to? I'm quite fond of blind testing  ;D

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #289 on: December 16, 2019, 04:01:16 AM »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline North Star

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #290 on: December 16, 2019, 05:19:15 AM »
This may be a dumb question, which subforum was this blind test posted to? I'm quite fond of blind testing  ;D
https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,25338.0.html

There have been a number of other blind comparisons over the years.
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Offline André

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #291 on: December 16, 2019, 05:47:18 AM »


That’s a different thing. This thread is about the sonatas and partitas, not by-products.

I was thinking of this:



But you haven’t heard it, obviously.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #292 on: December 16, 2019, 07:22:54 AM »
That’s a different thing. This thread is about the sonatas and partitas, not by-products.

I was thinking of this:



But you haven’t heard it, obviously.

The problem I have with that one is that it's not on Qobuz for streaming, so I have no way of hearing it apart from spotify, and I've learned to distrust the sound. Nevertheless I just listened to the fugue of 1005 and I can hear that he has some ideas about the structure of the music which are interesting.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #293 on: December 17, 2019, 08:59:08 AM »
Kristof Barati



Originally released in 2010 on Berlin classics, it has been reissued in 2013 by Brilliant at one-third the price.  I think they are worth hearing. His 1703 “Lady Harmsworth” Stradivarius sounds magnificent.  Highly praised in Fanfare by two different reviewers.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 11:43:40 AM by San Antone »

Offline André

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #294 on: December 17, 2019, 11:36:54 AM »
Kristof Barati



Originally released in 2010 on Berlin classics, there have been reissued in 2013 by Brilliant at one-third the price.  I think they are worth hearing. His 1703 “Lady Harmsworth” Stradivarius sounds magnificent.  Highly praised in Fanfare by two different reviewers.

I will go for that one, his account of the Ysaÿe sonatas is absolutely mesmerizing.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #295 on: December 17, 2019, 12:14:54 PM »
Kristof Barati



Originally released in 2010 on Berlin classics, it has been reissued in 2013 by Brilliant at one-third the price.  I think they are worth hearing. His 1703 “Lady Harmsworth” Stradivarius sounds magnificent.  Highly praised in Fanfare by two different reviewers.

Thanks, looks promising. Oddly, the Gramophone online review (granted, a source whose recommendations I rarely consult) states that Barati uses "a modern instrumental set-up and bow". Ditto for Isabelle Faust, who uses a 1704 "Sleeping Beauty" Stradivarius.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 12:24:06 PM by T. D. »

Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #296 on: December 17, 2019, 02:02:58 PM »
Thanks, looks promising. Oddly, the Gramophone online review (granted, a source whose recommendations I rarely consult) states that Barati uses "a modern instrumental set-up and bow". Ditto for Isabelle Faust, who uses a 1704 "Sleeping Beauty" Stradivarius.

Yeah, well true HIP violinists use a Baroque bow (curved) with gut strings set up differently than a modern violin. I am not a purist and this recording, as with Faust's are perfectly fine according to my taste.  Sometimes the real PI recordings sound a bit harsh to me.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #297 on: December 17, 2019, 02:18:43 PM »
Thanks. Must be bow and/or strings. I'm easily confused, and the fine points of HIP sometimes baffle me.  :-[

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #298 on: December 18, 2019, 03:06:54 AM »
Thanks for the additions folks, and keep 'em coming.

Offline milk

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Re: Bach's Violin Sonatas & Partitas (solo)
« Reply #299 on: February 02, 2021, 04:17:30 AM »
any love for this ‘round these parts? This is Ivan Zenaty.