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Bach - Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo/ Podger

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Violin solo no 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Violin solo no 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Violin solo no 2 in A minor, BWV 1003
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Violin solo no 3 in C major, BWV 1005
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Until the moment when Mendelssohn and Schumann took them in hand, Bach's solo violin works had been gathering dust for more than a century. Bach set a standard which has never been equaled, either before or since. For many critics, Rachel Podger's performances have also set a standard. NPR's All Things Considered stated: "Rachel Podger has made the finest recordings of these works I've ever heard. Surely it was how Bach was meant to sound..."

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Hitherto we have heard Rachel Podger only in early chamber works and as Andrew Manze's partner in Bach double concertos: here now, at last, is an opportunity to hear her on her own. And you couldn't be more on your own than in Bach's mercilessly revealing Solo Sonatas and Partitas, perhaps the ultimate test of technical mastery, expressiveness, structural phrasing and deep musical perception for a violinist. Playing a Baroque instrument, Podger challenges comparison with the much praised and individual reading by Monica Huggett: she has many of the same virtues - flawless intonation, warm tone, expressive nuances, clear understanding of the proper balance of internal strands - but her approach is sometimes markedly different. This is most obvious in the great D minor Chaconne, in which Huggett's rhythmical flexibility worried some people, but in which Podger, here as elsewhere, while fully characterising the varied repetitions of the ground, is intent on building up the cumulative effect. One pleasing general feature of her playing, indeed, is her firm but unassertive rhythmic sense; others are the absence of any suspicion that technical difficulties exist (instead a calm control, as in the G minor's Siciliano), her subtle phrasing (as in the B minor Corrente, with the fleetest of doubles), the cross rhythms of her G minor Presto and, most strikingly, the poetic feeling with which she imbues the initial Adagio of the G minor Sonata. She touches in chords lightly: though some might have been split downwards rather than upwards so as to preserve the continuity of a lower part (for example, in bar 5 of the B minor Allemande, bar 10 of the Chaconne and in the 18th and 19th bars of its major section). Her D minor Giga is stunning. Altogether a most impressive and rewarding disc.

As a matter of tactics disregarding the printed order of the works, the second disc opens in the most effective way with a joyous performance of the ever-invigorating E major Preludio. At once we can recognise Podger's splendid rhythmic and tonal vitality (not merely Bach's marked terraced dynamics but pulsatingly alive gradations within phrases), her extremely subtle accentuations and harmonic awareness (note her change of colour at the move from E to C sharp major in bar 33), are all within total technical assurances. The Gavotte en Rondeau is buoyantly dance-like, and in the most natural way she elaborates its final statement(throughout the Partita her ornamentation is stylish and convincing). She takes the Giga at a restrained pace that allows of all kinds of tiny rhythmic nuances. Only a rather cut-up performance of the Loure detracts.

In the sonatas she shows other sterling qualities.

She preserves the shape in the A minor Grave's ornate tangle of notes; she judges to a nicety the balance of the melodic line against the plodding accompanimental quavers of the Andante; she imbues the C major's Adagio with a hauntingly poetic musing atmosphere, and her lucid part-playing of its Fuga could scarcely be bettered. In the Fuga of the A minor Sonata, however, she unexpectedly allows herself considerable rhythmic freedom in order to point the structure. The final track is a stunning performance of the C major's closing Allegro assai which would bring any audience to its feet.



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Violin solo no 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
  • Performer: Rachel Podger (Violin)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Violin solo no 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
  • Performer: Rachel Podger (Violin)
  • Running Time: 29 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
  • Performer: Rachel Podger (Violin)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Violin solo no 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
  • Performer: Rachel Podger (Violin)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Violin solo no 2 in A minor, BWV 1003
  • Performer: Rachel Podger (Violin)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Violin solo no 3 in C major, BWV 1005
  • Performer: Rachel Podger (Violin)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720