J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Arthur Grumiaux
Individual Works:Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003
Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
Sonata No. 3, in C, BWV 1005
Partita No. 3 in E, BWV 1006
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Philips
Catalog Number:438 736-2
Year Released/Recorded:1961
Total Playing Time:1:53:16
Comments:Jan Hanford said:

Arthur Grumiaux's performance of the sonatas for violin and harpsichord prompted me to buy this collection. It is a passionate and sensitive performance and the works themselves are incredible. His intonation is flawless, his tempos are pleasant and intelligent and he communicates emotion without sounding romantic. However, his performance is a bit harsh, especially when compared with that of Benedict Cruft which is my preferred and recommended recording.

Jorge Daniel Reyes said:

I've never heard a recording by Grumiaux that I didn't like. This one is no exception. Grumiaux's playing is luminous and warm. Under his fingers, these pieces take on a life of their own. His playing tends toward the more "romantic", but he never becomes syrupy or introduces alien elements into his interpretation of Bach. The acoustics are good; Not too wet or dry.

Charles Hutton said:

I feel very lucky to have happened upon this disc, it's affordable, and I find the performance absolutely fabulous (I don't own any other recordings of this work, however). Grumiaux's tone is beautiful, it just sounds so... "wide." The playing isn't tinny and detatched, but expressive and sometimes a little "dirty." The fugues are great, and the whole record displays a strong rhythmic pulse. In short, this recording fills me with ecstacy more consistently than anything this side of Gould's piano concertos.

Andreas Dobloug said:

I've listened to several other recordings of these works, but none surpasses Arthur Grumiaux! (E.g. Heifetz' recording pales in comparison.) This is *music*, not somebody trying to show off. The intonation and frasing is near perfection! A delight to listen to. One of my favourite

A X Raza said:

This is by far the finest recording of the Bach Partitas and Sonatas for solo violin. For pieces that can so easily be mistaken for traffic noise, Grumiaux uses his Stardivarious to unimaginable superiority and precision resulting in a spectacular show of craftsmanship - both from composer and performer. Great stuff!

Richard Hayden said:

This may well be the definitive recording of Bach's masterly works violin solo. Unlike other soloists Grumiaux's extraordinary technique allows him to conquer the technical difficulties of these pieces to such an extent that the purity of Bach's musical communication is fully revealed. He doesn't draw attention to the 'difficulty' of the music but to the music itself. The famous Chaconne is powerfully, incredibly performed but all the interpretations are similarly rugged and uncompromising. The passing sweetness of a melodic line always floats above Grumiaux's monumental interpretation of the architectonic quality in the music. The recorded sound is clear, spacious and vivid. Grumiaux's tone is steely but frequently earthy, espcially in the massive groups of double-stopped chords in the Chaconne. Something of a classic then, this recording will last you a lifetime.

David Perrine said:

Wonderful version of the Chaconne. Extraordinary polish and precision throughout. Some of the selections are very forceful and brilliant where I would have prefered a gentler, more elastic approach. (This wasn't what I excpected from Grumiaux.) The sound was too bright and too reverberant for my taste.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Guilherme Furtado Filho
  • Jorge Daniel Reyes
  • Charles Hutton
  • Andreas Dobloug
  • A X Raza
  • Richard Hayden
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:07/08/1998