Violinist Viktoria Mullova made two great decisions before she made this record. First, she decided to record not only Bach's canonical six sonatas for violin and harpsichord, but also his Sonata in G major for violin and continuo and his Trio Sonata in C major for violin and continuo…
The violinist Chiara Zanisi works with the finest early music ensembles, notably the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra under Ton Koopman, with whom she has just finished a long tour performing the Six Brandenburg Concertos. She now devotes her first solo recording to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin. Alongside her is Giulia Nuti, among the most brilliant harpsichordists and scholars in Italy, whose solo CD Les Sauvages: Harpsichords in pre-Revolutionary Paris (DHM) won a Diapason d’Or, among other awards. The kernel from which this project grew is their strongly shared idea that, in addition to great stylistic richness and invention, Bach’s music possesses an aura of magic and an almost divine form.
Two rising stars in today’s firmament of Baroque music performance, Leila Schayegh and Jörg Halubek, join forces to record one of the major challenges in their joint repertory: the six Bach Violin Sonatas, BWV 1014-1019. The collection’s title, 'Sei Suonate à Cembalo certato è Violino Solo', reflects the close partnership demanded of the violin and harpsichord players, with Bach moving away from the idea of continuo support for a solo instrument and constantly making new technical demands on the musicians and thereby approaching the concept of the triosonata. Completed by around 1725, most of these richly characterful works combine the Italian style and a cantabile tone with elements of German contrapuntal style. The artistic partnership of Schayegh and Halubek, now in its tenth year, has seen them record chamber music by Jean-Marie Leclair, CPE Bach and Giovanni Mossi but the Bach Violin Sonatas represents their first joint recording for Glossa.
Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has recorded Bach before, on both piano and harpsichord. His interpretations are not jazz versions of Bach but are played straight. In this case you might say relatively straight, for Bach's sonatas for violin and keyboard, BWV 1014-1019, were written for a harpsichord and are generally played that way; somehow the ear is jarred more by the piano here than in Bach's solo keyboard music (which Jarrett has also recorded). Jarrett fans will find the evidence of his characteristic style not in rhythmic inflections toward jazz but in his way of sustaining notes, which is never excessive.
John Holloway and Davitt Moroney have set up a musically rewarding partnership in these brilliantly inventive works, furthermore adding to their programme the two lovely sonatas for violin and continuo long attributed to Bach, and justly so. In both of them they are joined by Susan Sheppard (continuo cello). For these sonatas Moroney has preferred a chamber organ to a harpsichord.
Having all of these works collected together is a real treasure. It is one of the most beautiful collections I've heard. 5 cd's of all of Bach's chamber music, exquisitely performed by the outstanding soloists of Musica Antiqua Koln. Reinhard Goebel's performance of the violin works is simply perfect. As I've said before, Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord have been in the shadows for too long, they deserve to be heard and this performance proves it. They are a delightful partnership between violin and harpsichord. The tempos are fairly brisk but the performance is so clearly articulated that the result is energetic and very rewarding.