Viktoria Mullova

Bach: 6 Solo Sonatas & Partitas

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Although Viktoria Mullova released a recording of Bach's three partitas for solo violin for Philips in 1994, she never had the opportunity with Philips to record their companion pieces, the three sonatas for solo violin, so this 2009 Onyx recording is Mullova's first complete recording of all six of these milestone works. In the intervening years, the Russian virtuoso has grown as a technician and as an interpreter. Mullova's tone is still large, but she has developed deeper subtlety. Her attack is less aggressive and more measured, her phrasing is as expressive but more objective, and her dynamic range is more controlled and more graduated. Mullova's dazzling technique, however, is always at the service of the music. In gigues, she sparkles and soars, while in sarabandes she plumbs depths with profound expressivity, and she illuminates the individual lines in fugues with unfailing lucidity. Mullova's approach may have become more reserved, and her current interpretation of the great Ciaconna from the D minor Partita is somewhat cooler and more intellectual than her earlier recording. Her intensity now, however, is concentrated on expressing the music rather than herself. The strength and integrity of Mullova's performances are extremely impressive, especially in Onyx's clear, direct but atmospheric digital recordings.

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