J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Lucy van.Dael
Individual Works:Volume 1
Sonata no. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
Partita no. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
Sonata no. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003

Volume 2
Partita no. 1 in D minor, BWV 1004
Sonata no. 3 in C major, BWV 1005
Partita no. 3 in E major, BWV 1006

Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Naxos
Catalog Number:8.554422 and 8.554423
Year Released/Recorded:1996
Total Playing Time:Vol. 1: 62:57; Vol 2. 65:57
Comments:Hieu Tran said:

When I put the first CD on, I was expecting the cat-in-heat shrill tone from so many Baroque violins I've heard. Instead, I found the tone here, for the most part, ubdued, if not mellow. The bright sonority, the metallic ringing of the modern violin is replaced by a surprising variety of colors. The difference between the two isn't very great, but it is still quite noticeable after listening to a modern violin's playing of the works. Aside from the harmonica sound and the occasional squeak, Dael's violin has the ability to evoke a tone somewhat close to that of the cello when playing the lower notes, to sound nasally, to sound like water rippling during some triple stops, and to sound, on double stops, transparent, letting the two notes sound as though they are from different instruments; the Baroque violin, then, may actually speak more sweetly to the ears when playing these works because it plays the stops more gently. The notes, however, are usually terse, and the ending of many pieces sometimes sounds almost unfinished because of the terseness. The same quality also makes certain quickly played passages sound bouncy, as the notes do not sound connected, and on occasion, to make some passages sound as though they're "throbbing"--gets a little annoying after a while.

The performances are well done. Dael plays these works fairly briskly. Her slower dances sound somewhat abstract, and her faster dances, such as the Menuett I from Partita no. 3, are concrete--they sound like dances and not violin studies. Her stops are precise throughout, and impressive in the Sonata no. 2 Fuga. She flies through the Ciaconna, displaying some virtuosity. The sound of the recordings is very clear. You can hear some brushing sound, either from her technique or from her respiration.

If nothing else, these recordings show off the Baroque violin through some enjoyable playing.

Michal Gawlowski said:

It is a pleasure to submit a recording of gifted Lucy van Dael who recently opened a Bach Year in Poland. Her magnificent performance, especially the famous Ciaconna from BWV 1004 is repeated on these recordings.

Jill Friedman said:

It is a pure musical, most thrilling experience to listen to this wonderful performer.

Evan Garey said:

What a wonderful, vibrant collection for the Bach lover! With the growing number of fine baroque recordings now available, the sheer variety of interpretations become more evident.

Here, Lucy van Dael elevates the art of baroque violin to new heights. Her precise intonation, eloquent phrasing and judicious use of vibrato throughout adds new insight to these works. Remarkably expressive--even passionate at times.
Baroque violin with gut strings lets the music breathe naturally, more like our voice, compared to the steeley, brilliant tone of a modern violin. Lucy van Dael's talent places this 2-CD set at the top of my list.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Hieu Tran
  • Michal Gawlowski
  • Jill Friedman
  • Evan Garey
Date First Submitted:06/10/1999