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Bach P & S recordings

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I need your suggestions on which recordings of Bach P & S I

should get.  It will be great if you could give me the ones I

could either purchase a CD or download for ipod.

 Thanks!  

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There have been previous threads on this with at least one vote for just about every one that exists. Of the moderns, Szeryng and Milstein (the later one from the 1970s) are generally considered to be standards. From the A-415 crowd, Rachel Podger and Lucy van Dael seem to be popular. However, almost any recording by a major violinist you like will be good and give you some insight. Here is a link to an article that discusses some of them: http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics/partitas.html

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Hillary Hahn's recording, though "incomplete", is my favorite for her Ciaccona (or Chaccone, Ciaccone, etc etc). While it has been criticized for being too slow (it takes her just shy of 18 minutes to get through it), of all the recordings I have listened to I love it for the more languid and deliberate interpretation.

I'm also fond of Itzhak Perlman's recordings of the Bach S & P's, but his Ciaccona sounds almost rushed comparatively, which as mentioned makes it less appealing to me. (He tears through his in a comparatively smoking pace of under 16 minutes.) Not that I'm basing my estimation of the entire set on that one piece, but the contrast between those two on my two favorites (Hahn, Perlman) stands out rather starkly to me. Perlman sounds more rushed and/or aggressive in other places, but in many of the compositions that works for me.

I know many drool over Heifetz...but I don't care as much for his Bach. He's brilliant, and full of pyrotechnics, and his performances of many just silly difficult compositions is eye-watering...but to me he just doesn't capture Bach. He just doesn't sound "Baroque", if that makes any sense

Just one man's opinion though.

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I happen to see Milstein's Bach Partita No. 3 Preludio on youtube. I was just blown away. But some comments makes me wonder....like indicating he plays Bach differently than others. Is that so? If so, in what way his playing is different from others?

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Richard Tognetti (Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra)

Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

Richard Tognetti

2006 ARIA Best Classical Album winner

2 CD Set

I always like his playing.

Cheers,

Michael

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I own Hahn and Lucy Van Dahl, both very good, but if I had none of these and I had to go out and buy one version today I would buy Eugene Drucker's (violinist in the Emerson String Quartet) complete sonatas and partitas, based on his Chaconne which he put up as a sample on line. Check it out here

http://www.violinist.com/media/538/

I have heard Milstein's Preludio on utube and it is my favorites, but I have a version of him playing the Chaconne on a CD which I don't care for. Now I just put on his version of the Chaconne on utube and it has to be a different one, he blew me away he plays so beautifully.

I have listened to Heifetz's CHaconne on utube and I don't really like it. I feel the sound is too heavy and crunchy in so much of the piece that he is killing it, but maybe that is part of the beauty of the Chaconne all the different interpretations, here I don't like Heifetz's version so much but other people who know a thousand times more than me love him.

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I know this is a bit of a merry-go-round kind of thread

but then again, how can you not come back to such a fascinating subject?

I happen to be listening regularly to a number of performances these days

whenever I'm traveling:

Menuhin in his early years: assured, un-selfconscious.

and again Menuhin at 60; a bit hard to take (a wine cellared too long?)

Szeryng - rhythmic drive and contrapuntal understanding surely unparelled

Milstein: for sheer command and beauty of playing hard to beat

Szigeti: a style that now seems unfamiliar to many modern ears?

van Dahl & Tognetti: they play about a half-tone lower

in "period-style" performances not without insight.

Naturally, each brings their own perspective.

Different things appeal to me about different approaches

each time I listen.

(I've only referred to the complete sets I have)

I would like to hear Perlmann.

Must pick up a cheap used copy somewhere.

(Van Dahl, early Menuhin & Jaap Schroder you can hear at naxos.com online)

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How do you like your steak cooked? Everyone has his or her choice.

It so happens that I have one CD of Lucy Van Dahl ( a complete set is supposed to have 2 CD's)

Half tone lower in the recording was intentional. (Baroque music ?)

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If you get a version by a baroque violinist, don't forget to look at Rachel Podger. Her S & P are heartfelt and fabulous, and embody baroque style without being mannered or caricatured. Her playing makes me think of a great actress who can portray Shakespeare with a lot of style without seeming at all artificial.

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I think I am going to spend some time at the CD store this weekend to see if I could find above mentioned violinists' Bach P & S CDs. I am going to have a hard time choosing. That's for sure

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quote:


Originally posted by:
jonfrohnen

Arthur Grumiaux!  He's ruined any other recording for me,

Grumiaux is my #1 for the Bach.

True enough - smooth as silk and refinement personified.

Thanks for drawing attention to him.

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Omobono the Milstein Chaconne that I have was recorded in 1957 by Gianni Salvioni, is it the same one that you have? I think this might have been recorded at a seperate time then a complete works because the cd is called violin recital and has a smattering of works by various composers. Overall his playing of the Chaconne is fantastic but there are a few spots that jar me slightly from my reverie.

Meanwhile I realize I don't even own a complete sonatas and partitas and I think I want to go shopping! Jonathon's accolade of Grumiaux whetted my interest then I came upon this review;

"Now, Grumiaux stands tallest with me for his recordings of the Bach violin concertos and the famous double violin concerto, as well as his sublime version of the six violin/harpsichord sonatas (this is my favorite Grumiaux recording, and a "desert island recording" for me...an absolute must-have for anyone). For those, Grumiaux is unmatched in my opinion. But, in those cases, he has accompaniment that he must interact with. In these unaccompanied violin works, he has a subtle detachment. For an example, listen to the opening Grave movement from Sonata 2, and especially the Andante (movement 3) of Sonata 2. Grumiaux's technique is flawless, and he is almost at that magic threshold. Then, listen to Milstein play that Andante from the EMI 50s recording. You will hear exactly what I am talking about, something a bit too ineffable to put into words, but something you can hear. Given the fact that Grumiaux has recorded my favorite versions of Bach's other violin works, as I've mentioned above, this criticism was difficult for me to make.

I'm not suggesting a bombastic, romanticized account of these suites. Milstein finds the perfect balance (in his 50s version) between reverence of Bach and technical mastery. You feel every note of the music as it comes from Bach, and the depth of insight is extraordinary. Grumiaux captured that with his other recordings that I've mentioned above, but in these solo suites, there is a depth of feeling that is lacking. He's obviously more concerned with perfect form and cleanliness of line than he is with probing the music for its innermost secrets. Milstein achieves this, but on the EMI set from the 1950s, not the DG set from the 70s, where I think that Milstein also fell short."

Now what? Two complete sets??

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I personally favour the Grumiaux's overall, but Milstein's Chaconne is still at the top for me. A friend reccomended Shumsky to me, and I've liked the results there as well.

I made a topic exactly like this a while back, with some quite extensive replies (44-reply long thread). You can see the results here:

http://maestronet.com/forums/m...tid=3&threadid=266278

My recording collection has come a long way since then -- I now posses about 20 different recordings of the Sonatas and Partitas, each with things I like and dont like. I've found it to be a very personal choice among people, even more so than music usually is.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Andres Sender

If you get a version by a baroque violinist, don't forget to look at Rachel Podger. Her S & P are heartfelt and fabulous, and embody baroque style without being mannered or caricatured.

I found a recorded concert I have from a few years back

of here playing unaccompanied Telemann

and the 1st Bach Sonata & the 3rd Partita.

Clean, assured playing,

no great baravura,

and the full flavor of baroque sound,

as you suggest.

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I went to the local CD store and was very disappointed!!! Out of all the shelves they have, the classical section is just two and half of them is dedicated to opera singers. I didn't find any (can you believe it?) Bach S & P recordings I guess I have to rely on downloading sites now. Anyway, I just downloaded just one of Milstein 's Partita No. 3 from itune store. The recommendation for me also showed Gidon Kremer"s S & P. Do you guys like his recording? If I am to download, I could pick one song (piece) if I want to. So, what are your take on each sonata? which violinist's recording do you like for each S or P for that matter?

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I am sorry your local CD store is so useless. However, what you are going to get in response to your questions is that some people like Kremer and some don't, in answer to your second question that they are all good, and on the third, you will get at least one vote for every major violinist who has ever recorded the S&Ps. Thus, I would ignore the responses and simply order a set by any of the good violinists from Amazon, ArchivMusik, or some other online source. That is the only course of action that makes any sense. Sorry to be so negative.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
mommag

The recommendation for me also showed Gidon Kremer"s S & P. Do you guys like his recording?

I believe Falstaff, one of our regulars is a Kremer Bach fan.

He may care to make a comment.

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The problem, Omo, is that even though Falstaff may worship the recording, it may not appeal to others, including mommag. So, while we might be interested to hear what he has to say, I would not put much stock in it. My advice stands: go buy/download a recording of the whole set by any major violinist (Kremer, if you like him in other recordings) and enjoy! Then listen to another by someone else. There is no magical recording of these pieces that is considered so persuasive that everyone agrees that all other recordings should simply be ignored. Indeed, with these pieces there is enough interpretive room that almost all of the recordings contain some magic.

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I'll second thom, to a degree.

Ask 10 people this question and you'll get a dozen opinions.

Not that it's bad to ask...particularly, I think, if people qualify what about a recording they like, rather that leaving it with a simple vote of "(fill in the blank) is the best!"

Not that anyone has been doing that.

I suppose the opinions here can give you a starting point, and if people expand on them you also get an idea of what to go for based on your current musical preferences.

But in the end your ear will be your own discriminator, and if you love these pieces I guarantee you will own, eventually, more than one recording.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
thom

The problem is that even though Falstaff may worship the recording, it may not appeal to others, including mommag.

Only since someone asked about Kremer specifically.......

and I am unfamiliar with his recordings.

otherwise, naturally, I agree.

Here are a couple that look worthwhile:

jsbx2.jpg

Milstein

Szeryng

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It's true that one person's favorite may be a dust collector for someone else. (For example, recordings of Neville Mariner conducting the Brandenburg Concertos are EVERYWHERE in stores, so they must be good sellers in spite of the fact that I find them bland and lifeless.) There are simply too many variables for there to be one recording that everyone considers "definitive." That said, there's no need to roll the dice on ANYONE's recommendation, given the widespread availability of audio samples on the web.

Making a selection is much easier if you've already discovered where your own tastes lie.

- Do you prefer these pieces on a baroque violin, or one with a modern set-up?

- Do you prefer a straight-laced interpretation or a looser feel?

- Do you prefer a closely-mic'd violin or one recorded from greater distance?

- The blousy reverb of an empty church, or the intimate sound of a well-damped studio?

- Fast or slow tempi?

Not sure what you like? Visit the websites of on-line music sellers and listen to the free audio samples they offer. With their existence, it's NEVER been easier to make a well-informed music purchase.

The sites I use most frequently are:

Amazon.com

CDUniverse.com

Tower.com

Comparing the many performances can provide almost as much enjoyment as listening to the recording you settle on. You'll also learn a lot about the pieces in the process.

Rat

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