Most helpful critical review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2014
Sorry, but there are a few things that do not please me in this recording.
To begin with, the place. The Monastery of St. Gerold, somewhere in Austria and surrounded by mountains, is an amazing place calling for introspection and spirituality. However, the recording took place in a highly reverberant room, quite different from the acoustics of the Lutheran churches where Bach lived and played. The place seems more appropriate to Gregorian Chant than to Bach polyphony and counterpoint. Legitimate? Of course! But when it is proposed an interpretation based upon a historical approach any detail should be neglected.
In second place I was not pleased with the interpretation. The violin player does not match the four voices in technical and emotion terms. So, there is some feeling of unbalance between the violin and the voices. The four voices of the Hiliard Ensemble remain simply beautiful, with plenty of musicality and spirituality. But their Bach interpretation seems a little bit too stiff and austere to me.
In third place I was not pleased with the Chaconne with voices following the proposals of Helga Thoene. To begin with, the sound is not good. The track mixing is badly done, the violin sounds too prominent and brilliant. The violin plays “against” the voices, no fusion occurs.
The Chaconne of the Partita BWV 1004 for solo violin, like other things in life, gathers its magic from what is implicit or simply suggested. When the analytical approach proposed by Thoene is transposed to the Chaconne itself, the result with the voices added is “less magic”. I think that if, instead, they used 20 instruments and 50 voices the final result would be even less!