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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

J. S. Bach, Isabelle Faust, Solos and Partitas for Solo Violin, Vol 2

Like most listeners it took a little while for me to come to the intimate Bach, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the unaccompanied solo pieces for violin and cello. As time went by I came to treasure these works highly. This is Bach in a "pure" state, unconcerned with audience, writing for himself, the musicians who were to play the music, and the great beyond.

His Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin are beautiful examples of Bach in this sense. Isabelle Faust presents us with her second volume of the works in a just released CD (Harmonia Mundi).

There is grandeur, tenderness, and the thrill of intelligent velocity in Ms. Faust's hands. The phrasings make clear the ornament from the main stem of the lines when applicable. Each piece gets a fresh articulation according to the mood and pull of the music.

It's beautifully played Bach, perhaps miles from the old Joseph Szigeti recordings I still have on LP from my student days, but quite understandably so. Isabelle Faust is in every way as expressive as Szigeti, but of course she has her own sound, which all-in-all may be better for this music than Szigeti's was. Faust's is a glorious performance, thrilling to hear.

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