(The review below repeats a post that covered the three Partitas only.)
If you adn't noticed, Bach aficionados as a grumpy, contentious lot, and have been long before the period stylists assaulted the city gates with battering rams. In 1981 The Gramophone's reviewer greeted Gidon Kremer's first cycle of Bach's solo sonatas and partitas quite sourly, admiring the brilliant technique but deciding, overall, that the interpretation was wide of Bach's intentions. This strikes me as indefensible. The hand-written manuscript of 1720 contains many markings for dynamics and articulation, yet no one has ever heard Bach perform these masterpieces - he was an accomplished violinist and violist himself - and every era has interpreted the score according to changes in taste.
Kremer clearly sets out to interpret the thee partitas, which unlike the sonatas are dance suites based on the prevailing French model. By contrast, there are purists like Christian Tetzlaff who inject a minimum of personality. Kremer seems unrestrained and free set next to Tetzlaff's beautiful restraint. I don't think it's more respectful to keep your own ideas out of this music; great musicians exist to offer their ideas, and I'm sure that was true in Bach's day as well. But the fashion in our time is for anonymous literalism, and the listener should be prepared for Kremer's antithetical approach.
Not that he violates the letter of the score; he adds nuances and personal gestures of phrasing. At times he prefers faster than usual tempos in the quick dances. Following a rather old-fashioned, even romantic, tradition, he leans fairly aggressively into the double and triple stops rather than making a point, as Tetzlaff does, of showing how easily they can be brought off. But this emphasis doesn't extend to slowing the pace when double stops occur. You have to turn to Menuhin and Szigeti to find truly romantic personal interpretation where rubato and other post-Baroque expressive touches are liberally applied - Kremer isn't out to turn Bach's suites into tone poems. In fact, the Gramophone reviewer complained that in the fast movements Kremer tends to be mechanical; I don't hear that by any means.
When he came to redo the sonatas and partitas for ECM, Kremer offered even deeper readings but at the expense of too many mannerisms for my taste. Also, his refusal to make pretty sounds has become exaggerated; the double stops are positively grating nowadays. And yet no one who has heard him play all six works in concert has come away less than awed. Recently Kremer featured the sublime Chaconne in D minor in a mixed program, and the NY Times reviewer said, in essence, that Kremer has long been regarded as the great living violinist, with no reason for that opinion to change. The evidence is certainly here in this great recording (I didn't buy the three sonatas because of the prohibitive price on the used market.)
Note: The recorded sound is first-rate. The miking is close up but not overly dry.