Like the first volume of this series, this gathers rare recordings from throughout the bulk of Greg Lake's career, spanning the late '60s to the mid-'90s. Lake might be one of the most famous musicians associated with progressive rock, but you'd have a hard time taking that impression away from this CD if it was the first or only sampling of his music you heard. Rarities collections can't serve as a fair career retrospective, of course…
Some years ago a distinguished music professor said to me, "You must go and see Doktor Faust at English National Opera - you'll hear a second rank composer at the height of his powers". Backhanded though this compliment may seem, it was clearly conveyed with a spirit admiration and perhaps a tinge of surprise.
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.