1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2013
This is such wonderful music, full of melody, variety and emotion, that I believe that everyone should have a recording of it. J S Bach was a supreme keyboard player as well as a violinist, and early copies describes these as `Six trios for harpsichord with violin', rather than the other way round. I bought this set because I had been disappointed with several `authentic' recordings where the balance made the harpsichord sound like a junior partner although I had hoped that a period violin with gut strings and a lighter bow would give a harpsichord less competition than a `modern' fiddle, (even one in the hands of thoughtful musicians like Szeryng, Grumiaux or Isabelle Faust.)
Pace and Zimmerman use `modern' instruments but notwithstanding the sound of a biggish piano with a fruity lower register, and the ex Fritz Kreisler Stradivarius violin in a nice, warm-sounding hall their approach to the BWV 1014 - 1019 sequence is hardly `romantic'. Pace's reading of the keyboard part is lively, lightly pedaled and subtly phrased - a proper complement to Zimmerman's bright, effortless, violin playing. It all sounds natural too, any rubato being a subtle response to the shape of the music rather than wilful / interventionist `interpretation'. I think you'd have to be a hardline authenticist to discount the approach or question the musicality of this recording.
About the least thoughtful feature of the set is the ponderously translated, broad brush booklet note where Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich blithely asserts that these sonatas weren't necessarily conceived as a cycle. The relationship and progression of the keys of the successive sonatas is evidently scrupulously considered, numbers 5 and 6 having been composed earlier. It is evident from the writing of Bach's sons and early biographers that he revised the works more than once and scholars are clear that Bach organised the structure of these sonatas and their sequence, much as he arranged other sets of six pieces such as the sonatas and partitas for solo violin and the six harpsichord partitas: the order is important.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2011
This is pure perfection.
Thankfully, at long last, a great recording of these Bach Sonatas with piano rather than cembalo. The difference is definitely worth your money. Cembalo, despite being authentic (some prefer authenticity), can sound like heavy rain on a tin roof at times, without sustainance, difficult to listen to after a short while. The piano, as here, is lovely to listen to. As is the violinist - he does a very fine job indeed. His tone is gorgeous.
I love it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
I already have a recording of this work - Grumiaux et al - with harpsichord. This version will not appeal to those who consider, on principle that the piano is unsuitable for works of this nature. But if you don't share this view - and many don't - you will I think love this performance. It is delicate, elegant and witty. If you looked for a piece of music to introduce people to the "the classics" then you would find this hard to beat.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2009
If you think you know Bach, but haven't heard these sonatas for Violin and, yes, PIANO* (thankfully), have a listen to this performance and think again. (No, I have no axe to grind with "authentic" Baroque purists..).
This 2-CD set was brought to my attention by Gramophone magazine, where it was recommended as "Editor's choice". And what a revelation it was! Admittedly, I wasn't too familiar with these particular Bach sonatas. Musicologists have often placed these six works alongside the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin and the Brandenburg Concertos because of their wealth of invention and their mature, individual style. They were probably composed ca. 1725 in Leipzig; some 50 years later, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was still championing them as the finest works of his father.
These sonatas, which were not necessarily designed as a cycle from the outset, have a slow-fast-slow-fast sequence of four movements, except for the five-movement G major sonata (BWV 1019) in which the central movement is for the piano alone, while the violin remains silent. The slow movements in particular are of great emotional depth and melodic elegance.
German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and Italian pianist Enrico Pace, a regular duo since many years, are unsurpassed in their collaboration on these sonatas, with fully equal roles for both performers. Superb musicality, expressiveness and phrasing, combined with great richness of tone, make of this set a breathtaking listening experience. The gorgeous sound of Zimmermann's Stradivarius (once belonging to Fritz Kreisler) balances and blends beautifully with that of Pace's charismatic and tasteful pianism. I can't think of a stronger case for the superiority of the piano as the keyboard instrument on which to hear these sonatas).
I can listen to this performance non-stop for hours, even days.. If you love Bach, BUY this set!
*It's a shame that modern performances of these sonatas are very rare. There are recordings by Menuhin/Kentner, Laredo/Gould and Tenenbaum/Kapp and that's about it. But they are no match for the present recording.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2010
Perfect! I am litteraly thunderstruck by the absolute perfection of these performances of the duo Zimmermann-Pace.
I have been listening to the sonatas for violin and piano by Bach for a very long time.
Rarely I had the opportunity to listen to piano-violin interpretations because they are almost nearly always performed by harpsichord-violin.
There are plenty of CDs available in the market. I have listen to all of them, but I have never found such balance and beauty. The sound of the violin is maravellous, always in tune with the piano, never overwhelming.
The duo found the right tempo for all the movements. The adagio of the F minor, for instance, an amazing piece in itself, is unfolding with such a greatness and solemnity that your heart almost blows off filled with joy and beauty. Indeed you could say the same or even more for many other movements... I strongly recommend anybody to buy this CD. It is a real treasure! You will have hours and hours of pleasure.