Ruggiero Ricci

J.S. Bach: Complete Partitas & Sonatas for Solo Violin

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Ruggiero Ricci's 1981 recordings of Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin are romantic with a capital "R." With their juicy vibrato, warm tone, and sweet intonation, they are Romantic in a stylistic sense, and with their passionately expressive, heart-on-the-sleeve performances, they are Romantic in an interpretive sense. Ricci, of course, is justly famous for his brilliant performance of the standard concerto repertoire and his collaborative performances of the standard chamber repertoire. But this recording of the most awe-inspiring solo violin works ever composed shows that, even all by himself, Ricci is a master. Here, Ricci dares to dive deep into Bach's penetrating Praeludiums and fearsome fugues and succeeds in coming back up with performances that are joyful, soulful, and beautiful. Try just his D minor Partita. From its melancholy Allemande through its searing Sarabande to its colossal Chaconne, Ricci's interpretation is musically virtuosic, emotionally subjective, and profoundly moving. Captured in richly detailed and amazingly atmospheric early digital sound, these performances may not please all listeners. Those who prefer the austere style and severe interpretations of period instrument players may wish to stick with Sigiswald Kuijken's magisterial recording. Listeners with more Romantic tastes may find Ricci's performances fascinating.

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