J.S. Bach: Partita No. 1 in B-flat major; Partita No. 2 in E minor; Sonata No. 1 in G minor

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This album, containing solo works of J.S. Bach for violin and piano, recorded sometime in the 1960s (an exact date was not given), offers two contrasting approaches to Bach's music. Pianist João Carlos Martins performs the First and Second solo partitas. His interpretation seems quite focused on musical line and phrasing. Although he incorporates a significant palate of romantic techniques such as free use of rubato, rolling chords, and robust dynamics, none of these elements ever come across as distasteful or overdone. The two courantes and the middle section of the E minor Sinfonia are quite fast, but always sparkling and completely lucid. The sarabandes are relaxed without being stodgy. Through all of the movements, the music flows with a beautiful and continuous line.

In contrast, violinist Wanda Wilkomirska in her performance of the First Sonata and Second Partita offers a much more angular and vertical approach to Bach's music. Her sound is often quite brusque, not unlike Nathan Milstein. Unlike Milstein's timeless performance of the solo violin works, Wilkomirska's interpretation offers little flow or consistent direction. The Chaconne is very "beaty," hesitant, and at times almost labored. While this recording is acceptable for the solo piano works, listeners may wish to check out other offerings for the violin solo sonatas and partitas.

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