This is a really terrific two-CD set of Bach's sonatas for violin and continuo. I have not always found these the easiest works to get into but Viktoria Mullova and Ottavio Dantone bring them alive wonderfully.
The music is, of course, wonderful but it's not the most accessible of Bach's work and some versions I've heard of these pieces have left me feeling excluded and uninspired. They are marvellously constructed examples of the baroque violin sonata with a huge variety of expressions of mood and emotion and fantastic harmonic invention, all of which Mullova and Dantone bring out beautifully. Both are musicians of the first rank, and although many would probably disagree with this, I think Viktoria Mullova is at her best in Bach. Both this and her superlative recording of the solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas Bach: 6 Sonatas & Partitas show her deep understanding of Bach's structures and the way in which they really express human emotions. Her minimal use of vibrato coupled with her impeccable judgement of rubato and ornamentation give these works real meaning, and Dantone matches her in every way. It's a beautifully judged and expressive performance.
I have two dearly loved recordings of these works by Rachel Podger Bach: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord /Podger · Pinnock and by Andrew Manze Bach - Violin Sonatas. This won't displace them in my affections, but it will sit alongside them and be enjoyed just as often. I love it and recommend it in the warmest terms.