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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2010
These well-known and much-praised Phillips recordings have been around for many years. Grumiaux plays with precision and accuracy - not everyone does in this music - and his approach is without eccentricity and absolutely convincing. It all seems very faithful to Bach's intentions, even if this is not a 'period' or 'authentic' performance. I think the best word to describe these performances is 'satisfying'. Grumiaux never loses focus, the sound he makes is most beautiful, he does not seem to step between the music and the listener, and the Phillips recording is clean and spacious. Just as many have done before, I would recommend this highly.
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on 6 April 2005
These works are surely up there with the St Matthew Passion and B Minor Mass as among the greatest and most influential achievements of JS Bach - the craftsmanship, virtuosity and sheer intensity of the sonatas and partitas remains, as far as I can see, unmatched to the present day. Who else but Bach could have conceived of writing fugues for an instrument not used to playing more than one note at once; and who else could pull it off so resoundingly well?! Not to mention the monumental Chaconne, a movement so vast, profound and virtuosic it leaves you gasping for breath.....
The almost legendary status of this recording (I see it has recently been re-released on a special Philips series commemorating 50 great recordings) needs very little comment. The most astounding thing for me was the way Grumiaux really manages to make his violin sound like at least two or three - the melodic line continues clearly and perfectly unbroken through all the double stopping and chords around it. And the music's intensity is brought out frightening effectively.
Yet another musical destruction of the opinion that Bach's music is excessively planned out and is nothing more than unemotional theory - anyone finding this at all dry and lacking in feeling needs their head examined!
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on 28 February 2002
Grumiaux is to Bach as Ashkenazy is to Rachmaninov. This has to be among the most intense and exciting violin playing in existence. Yes, Bach himself was a violinist, but it takes a player the calibre of Grumiaux to interpret it the way it ought to be performed.

When you've checked this one out, it's worth taking a listen to his rendition of the Violin Sonatas as well.
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on 26 June 2013
I came across this music while tuning around on my old shortwave receiver. It was being played by Radio Romania International and I was instantly captivated by it. I jumped onto Amazon and ordered these CD's. I am very pleased with this recording and I look forward to enjoying it again and again for years to come. The partita No2 in D minor is worth the price of the disc alone. Fantastic.
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on 10 October 2000
This is savage, moving and beautiful music in the hands of a true original - nothing quaint or baroque about it - this artist lifts your soul with his mysteriously brilliant technique and this collection is music for a sunny day or music for your darkest night - totally superb
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 19 October 2015
This double-CD issue of 1960/61 recordings of these stunning works by Bach are in immaculate, resonant sound, and played by veteran violin virtuoso Arthur Grumiaux on a modern instrument, but such is this great violinist's integrity and innate feeling for texture, emotional weight - and quite simply what is 'right' - that we may almost as well be listening to these pieces on a period instrument.
One can't help feeling that Bach himself would not only have approved but applauded such sparkling musicianship, perhaps even with a tear in his eye.
It is so good to hear these literally wonderful works played with such fervour, tempered with the restraint they deserve and require, and this is virtually the only recording I need, in its superb Philips sound, played by one of the world's aristocrats - an all too often overlooked one - of the violin repertoire.
Beautiful, endlessly fascinating music, played by a relentlessly resourceful musical magician.

Highly recommended.
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on 11 July 2001
The power of the artists playing playing is truly powerful and technically brilliant but it is the passion of his playing which is amazing.It is a passion from the soul that concentrates your mind and senses on every note. Bach would be proud.
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Bach's works for solo violin, the three sonatas of four movements each and three partitas of six dance-style movements each, were completed in 1720 during Bach's employment at Kothen at a time when his writing was at its most prolific - the Brandenburg concertos, double violin concertos and cello suites all originated from this period.

Bach himself transcribed parts of the work for other instruments (including organ, lute, and harpsichord) and is included in two cantatas (BWV 29 and BWV 120a). The works in their entirety have also been transcribed and rearranged by many artists and composers for guitar, viola, cello and piano.

Arthur Grumiaux, born in Belgium 1921 (died 1986) was a much acclaimed violinist, more highly regarded by his fellow musicians perhaps than by worldwide audiences. Recognition of his musicianship came in 1973 when he was made a baron by King Baudouin for his services to music.

This 1960/1961 recording is on the Phillips Classics DUO label which aims to provide 2 CDs for the price of one. The recordings are good, and the performances by Grumiaux demonstrate his distinctive style. The 16 page sleeve notes provide recording dates, track times and detailed background information about the works, but surprisingly no mention of Grumiaux himself.

There are many other recordings of these lovely solo works but this one is a good starting point in terms of value for money.
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on 20 May 2016
Really wonderful playing by Grumiaux. Immensely rich penetrating tone that communicates a profound soulful depth that is unsurpassed for these pieces especially.
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on 21 June 2016
Utterly amazing material, amzing performance and amazing sound quality.
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