J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Gidon Kremer
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:ECM New Series
Catalog Number:476 7291
Year Released/Recorded:2001/2002
Comments:Paul Johnson said:

In one of his two beautiful essays accompanying this recording, Gidon Kremer writes:

'I can only say about this new recording that it's like the "wordly goods" left behind by a humble musician who has recognized his own abilities as well as the limits imposed on him by the times in which he lived, who yet allowed himself - in the hope that it would prove to be of service to music - to make a last confession (a "reading" of these notes)...'

This 'new' recording - his last one was nearly twenty-five years ago, testifies both to the humble approach of Kremer and of his absolute command of these pieces. Whilst no single performer can ever reveal these works in totality, listening to this new ECM recording comes close to how I imagine perfection. Those who know Kremer will know that this is not a 'period' or 'authentic' account. If anything, it bears the marks of a performer who has, for so long, been fashioning the works of modern composers, such as Arvo Part, Alfred Schnittke and Giya Kancheli. For me, Kremer unwraps these notes in a thoroughly modern way - the way that allows Bach to speak to us as a contemporary, as a truly 'modern' composer in his own right.

I have long held other recordings of this work in high esteem - such as Monica Huggett's beautiful reading for Virgin. But like so many ECM New Series recordings of works, this one may become definitive. If Rostropovich is your cellist of choice, make Kremer your violinist. The journey across the 'Sei' is an unforgettable experience.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Paul Johnson
Date First Submitted:10/20/2005