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Bach: Complete Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo
Johann Sebastian Bach, Rachel Podger
Bach: Complete Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo
Genre: Classical


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CD Details

All Artists: Johann Sebastian Bach, Rachel Podger
Title: Bach: Complete Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Channel Classics Nl
Release Date: 11/12/2002
Album Type: Box set, Import
Genre: Classical
Styles: Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750), Classical (c.1770-1830), Instruments, Strings
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 723385249825

CD Reviews

Rachel Podger's sunny-toned masterpiece
Alan Lekan | Boulder, CO | 09/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rachel Podger has become one of the top artists of the Baroque violin and - like most of the great violin masters past and present - faces one of Baroque music's most challenging tests in these solo masterpieces of Bach. Musical technique aside, Podger's solo works here stand out from others for their smooth, warm, upbeat tones and most impressive intonation - but perhaps less for its sheer panache (as heard in her red-hot Vivaldi 'la Strav.'concertos).

Part of her beautiful tone must be due to 1739 Persarinius she used in addition to the pristine and vivid, all-digital recording Channel recording. But, where other performers emphasize the deeper, edgy emotive qualities of these intricate works, Podger takes a most pleasant, sunny line that with a smoother, less 'edgy' tonal quality. She presents a most human side of these works with an intonation that borders on perfection along with a fluidity and ease that commands admiration. If you prefer a strict Baroque 'astingent' sound, it will not be found here.

But not all 'warm' to Podger's purely warm tone here. Reviews from the music press were quiet divided, ranging from top accolades from Gramophone (and Gramophone highest 'Gem' Award) to outright dissing reviews from ClassicsToday that gave Vol. 1 an insultingly low 2/10 rating for "Artistic Quality." As other reviewers note, Ms. Podger's readings here have a more 'relaxed virtuosity' and are thus less overtly dynamic as compared to recordings by say, Perlman, Kremer or Grumiaux. To me, Podger's readings here stands out for their approachability. She tames these rather daunting, scholarly classics and translates them with great humanity. Milstein's classic readings should also be noted for their impeccable tone, technical ease, fluidity and artistic beauty.

In these pieces, Ms. Podger's greatest strengths lie in the bright, major-key works which exude a wonderful, extraverted and carefree joy (BWV1006 preludio or the BWV1005 allegro). She really brings out a vivid glow and effervencent dance rythym in such movements that can elevate the cloudiest spirit. Similarly, her crisp articulations and bowing in the marvelous A-minor allegro is both powerful and silky-smooth in its "echo" effects. She truly finds the joyful, sunny side of these works, which most should find delightful and most appealing.

However, the situation is a bit different in the pathos-imbued, minor-key works. In these compared to others, Ms. Podger still retains a warmer tone and does not quite emphasize the darker recesses of the compositions. An example is her reading of the famous D minor chaconne that is relatively mild-mannered (some even say dull and lacking) compared to other's readings in terms of intensity and panache. But, while some might see this as "short-changing" the music, I like the result for its overall refinement. Some will like her more restrained style in such works - others will not.

These impressive discs add to the many current high-quality offerings in the catalog. The sound quality is beautiful, full and vivid as any without being "reverbed out" like some. If you can only get one volume to start, I would say Volume II is the one to get for its carefree and effervescent lyrical qualities in the major-key works. Even if you have a favorite or two for these works, this exceptional musician is really worth hearing if you are not familiar with her Baroque specialties. Compositions - 5 stars; Performance - 5 stars; Sound quality - 5 stars."
Incredible warmth
Scott68 | Columbus, Ohio United States | 03/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have played these works forever and have listened to so many recordings but the reason I like this one so much is Podger's ability to mezmorize without the use of vibrato, well she does use vibrato but only as an ornament. Her tone is warm and colorful, her staccato is powerful and completely convincing, her intonation flawless. If only I could play them this well I would be happy.There seems to be an ongoing debate in the violin community about playing Baroque music with no vibrato and with authentic instruments. While I do not support this belief, I like all recordings for their subtle differences in tone and vibrato.Of course my favorite solo Bach recordings are by Szeryng, Milstein, Hahn, Rosand, and Perlman (I like all of them for different reasons) but I enjoy this recording equally. Anyone who plays Bach that well should be heard and I look forward to her future releases.I give this CD 5 stars without hesitation, her interpretation is completely unique.Yummy!"
Very authentic
kelsie | Plainview, Texas United States | 06/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Podger's reading of the Six is technically dazzling and wonderfully recorded. Her style and choice of instrument (a Baroque violin) capture the dance origins of many of the movements from each sonata and partita, especially the D minor Giga. She plays with an incredible lightness that makes these works sound as though they are effortless. She freely adds mordents, trills, and other minor articulations not written into the original manuscript (of which I have a copy), though these additions do nothing to detract from the overall performance.
Her tempi are swift (sometimes exceedingly so), and the Ciaconna in particular moves with an almost breathless pace (though not TOO fast, as in Van Daeyl's version for Naxos). Overall, though I thoroughly enjoyed these performances, the budget recordings (available at your local music store) by Christiane Edinger on Amadis (a Naxos label) are my favorites. For most, though, Podger will suffice. Edinger plays in a hard, almost violent manner, as though her life depends on this music (especially in the Ciaconna), while Podger's playing is sheer exuberance and love for the music. Both renderings capture the spirit and sheer virtuosity of Bach's most impressive creation. This set is a bargain by far, though, and is highly recommended!"