This is one of those recordings which transforms a work. I had struggled for years to like the Sonatas and Partitas, but a succession of recordings by great violinists had left me feeling thoroughly excluded by them. When I heard Rachel Podger, I suddenly saw the utter delight and involving beauty in the pieces. She loses absolutely none of their intellectual weight, but makes them dance, glow and sparkle. In the great Chaconne from the D minor Partita, for example, I had always previously reached the end feeling rather wrung out and exhausted with the effort of trying to penetrate a difficult and forbidding piece. With Podger’s recording I find myself engaged, carried along and very sorry when the final, breath-holding not dies away.
I cannot recommend this set too highly – and now that you get both discs for the price of one, it’s a serious bargain, too.