J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Nathan Milstein
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:EMI
Catalog Number:ZDMB 6479323
Year Released/Recorded:1955-1966
Total Playing Time:114 minutes
Comments:Brian Blackwell said:

Nathan Milstein's EMI set of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas is yet another example of the 'crunchy' school of Bach playing popular in the 40s and 50s. This is certainly not easy listening. Milstein makes no attempt to soften the effect of the huge double-stopping passages in the fugues, and the slower prelude movements of the sonatas sound uncomfortably rushed. Contrast this with Elizabeth Wallfisch's superbly spacious readings, which fully bring out the spiritual nature of the works without ever becoming stodgy. Fans of the 'good old days' of violin playing will no doubt rave about this set, but I really cannot recommend it. If a modern performance is needed, Thomas Zehetmair's admirable set on Teldec is the one to go for.

Erich Zimmerman said:

A re-release of Milstein's 1950 recordings. Very tastefully done with good notes in the booklet. I originally purchased an album set from the DG label of the 1970 trecordings that Milstein performed, and it is interesting to hear the differences between the two versions.

Shinyoung Kang said:

I strongly recommend this recording to any music lover who has listen to this magnificent music before. As a Bach lover and violine-addict myself, I have heard numerous Bach music especially this Sonatas and Partitas for solo violine. I have about 10 different sets of this same music, and I have to admit they all have their beauties by themselves. It is not easy to discard any of these recordings. Menuhin(mono,EMI),Pearlman(EMI),Grumiaux(Philips),Szeryng(Sony,DG),Mintz(DG),to name a few. It is easy to be prejudiced against other sets because everyone has different taste or ideas. Well I personally recommend Milstein's DG label too. EMI recording of Bach's Partitas and Sonatas is my first choice. (my opinion) It contains his technique, personality, musicality, and his spirit. He is able to bring out his superb technique and tonal variation which I believe is a little lacking in his newer DG version. I hope more music lovers will be able to appreciate his musicality at least once, if not twice. And I am sure people will be really satisfied with this greatest composer of all time, Bach. (my opinion)

David Perrine said:

In contrast to Milstein's later recording the mono sound is somewhat flat, but the chords are much less strident. On both versions his rubato sometimes impedes the flow of the music.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Brian Blackwell
  • Erich Zimmerman
  • Shinyoung Kang
  • David Perrine
Date First Submitted:12/27/1997