Bach: Works for Violin, Vol. 2

Jason Vieaux

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Bach: Works for Violin, Vol. 2 Review

by James Manheim

No one could accuse guitarist Jason Vieaux of rushing his second volume of Bach's music; the first volume appeared in 2009, while this second volume was recorded in 2019 and appeared in 2022. Vieaux teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music and records for the city's Azica label. He is thus a bit out of the guitar mainstream, even more so than other American guitarists, but the fact is that this is a wonderful Bach recital, featuring Bach's own arrangement of his Partita No. 3 in E major for solo violin, BWV 1006, plus arrangements, presumably by Vieaux (this is not specified anywhere), of the Sonata for solo violin in C major, BWV 1005, and Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001. Vieaux's guitar, a 2013 German instrument by Gernot Wagner, has an exceptionally clean tone, minimizing string noise, and everything he plays is precise. In spirit, though, he's a romantic, with highly expressive shapings of lines and movements. Consider the elegant form of the second movement of BWV 1001 as the fugal lines pile up but retain their individual detail. Azica records Vieaux at a recital hall at Goshen College in Indiana, and this, unlike many other collegiate venues, is excellent, giving Vieaux some space but not losing the sense of physical presence. Satisfying Bach from beginning to end.

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