Thomas Pietsch

J.S. Bach: Sei Solo

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Sei Solo, Thomas Pietsch's 2015 album of J.S. Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin, offers historically informed performances that give a clear idea of what these works sounded like in the composer's day. In the period between 1703 and 1720, Bach had absorbed not only solo violin music in Weimar, where he knew at first hand the works of Johann Paul von Westhoff, but also the farther-reaching influences of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, and especially the Italian virtuoso, Arcangelo Corelli. On this recording, Pietsch plays a Baroque violin from 1672, and he renders the sonatas and partitas with clean articulation of contrapuntal lines in the sonatas and a strong feeling for the dance rhythms in the partitas. Fans of authentic Baroque style will find much to enjoy in Pietsch's performances, and his research into the facsimile of the manuscript and various other sources will be of special interest to specialists. The only drawback to these recordings is the highly reverberant venue, the monastery church at Bordesholm, which may add to the authentic feeling of the church sonatas, but the acoustics blur the counterpoint that Pietsch works so hard to clarify and produce some unintended dissonances.

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