Rachel Barton Pine

Testament: J.S. Bach - Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

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Rachel Barton Pine has often performed the Sonatas and Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach in recital, but her 2016 release on Avie is her first studio recording of this essential masterwork for violinists. Using a Baroque bow on a modernized 1742 Guarneri de Gesù violin, Pine plays the Sonatas and Partitas with crisp accentuation, transparent voicing, and a warm tone, much as she does in her concert performances. Her interpretation, which is influenced by period practices but not limited by them, offers clear counterpoint in the sonatas and buoyant dance rhythms in the partitas, and there is little scratchiness in her stopped chords to disrupt the smoothness and transparency of her elegant lines. Pine's depth of feeling and expressive insights into the music keep it from seeming like dry, technical exercises, yet there is none of the overly rhetorical Romantic approach here, either, so this reading does justice to Bach's likely intentions while communicating emotion in a subtle and tasteful manner. Highly recommended.

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