Bach may well be one of the most widely acknowledged master composers of all time, but that only serves to make each performer’s interpretation of his work all the more challenging and distinctive: each musician must both do justice to the composer’s intention, making a decision as to the best way of conveying that within the music which is not fixed, and at the same time leave their own mark on the performance. This is especially true for these Sonatas and Partitas given the variety of styles in which such Baroque masterworks have been performed, ranging from the freely romantic to the strictly precise, and the technical challenge posed by these complex pieces for a single instrument.
The works in this collection are something of an enigma, not only because of the uncertainty surrounding the circumstances and date of their composition, but, more crucially, because of the way in which they stretch the capacity for polyphony of a single violin beyond its physical limit. It is as though Bach had written for a full ensemble of instruments – but on a single staff. Modern musicians have even speculated as to the possible existence of a special bow with which an exact performance of the music might have been achieved in Bach’s day. The music is no less rich for all of this, however: on the contrary, the harmonic complexity of these pieces is at once captivating and beautiful; the implied but absent notes are thrillingly suggestive; and the multiplicity of voices leaves the listener marvelling at Bach’s compositional vision and the performer’s ability.
This accomplished musical feat is performed by Kristóf Baráti, a Hungarian violinist who has worked with an astonishing number of world-famous orchestras and conductors. Baráti plays a 1703 Stradivarius violin, and one can sense this echo of the era of the pieces as much as one can his intense emotional involvement with the music.
- Recorded 7–12 September 2009, Siemens-Villa, Berlin.
- The star of the young Hungarian violinist Kristóf Baráti is quickly rising. Having won several important international competitions (the most recent first prize at the prestigious Paganini Competition in Moscow) he plays with important orchestras and conductors, like Charles Dutoit, Kurt Masur, Iván Fischer, Yuri Temirkanov and Marek Janowski. His recent recording of Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas with Klára Würtz received rave reviews: “5 stars…a great duo, comparable with Perlman/Ashkenazy, Grumiaux/Haskil, Ferras/Barbizet’ (Diapason), “A talent that comes along once in a decade, perhaps once in a generation, I don’t say it lightly, but once you’ve heard Baráti and Würtz you’ll never listen to anyone else again” (Fanfare).
- Includes a note on interpretation from the artist as well as an artist biography/comprehensive liner notes in both English and German.
- This recording of the great solo Bach was issued on Berlin Classics in 2009, and shows the sovereign command over the matter, and a deep understanding of the spirit of these masterworks.