Recent Recordings

Today’s Reviews

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Partitas for solo violin

Partita No 1 in B minor, BWV 1002 (1720) [27:32]
Partita No 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (1720) [28:21]
Partita No 3 in E, BWV 1008 (1720) [18:32]
Rachel Kolly (violin)
rec. 30-31 March 2020, Festeburgkirche, Frankfurt, Germany
INDESENS INDE141 [71:21]
I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for the ear-drillingly, mind-bogglingly transcendental, head-spinningly complex, subliminally subversive and, yes, once in a while even annoyingly simpleminded and general in presentation piano-comping style, supreme in its very superficiality. I don’t have to be the first or last to tell you what all of this might mean in terms of Bach performance style and/or expectations but, to me at least, it doesn’t really matter too much. What’s important is that I can listen to one instrumentalist after another take on these works, marveling at each respective display of technique and creativity while finding differences so minute that they can seem like mere nuances. Well, indubitably there actually are nuances at play here, but Rachel Kolly isn’t one for nuance. Her playing is an awe-filled display of clarity (fingerwork), dazzle (bowsmanship), and discipline (tempo). And it doesn’t matter that Kolly sometimes seems to be more aware of her physical means than the music itself. In fact, this only heightens my admiration for that music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 8 in C minor
WAB 108 (ed. Nowak 1890 version)
Bruckner Orchestra Linz/Markus Poschner
rec. 5 & 7-9 February 2018, Rehearsal Hall, Musiktheater, Linz
Bruckner 2024 - The Complete Versions Edition
CAPRICCIO C8081 [76:16]
The Austro-German conductor Markus Poschner is a leading authority on Bruckner's massive music. The performance is terrific, well played and strongly projected, warm and richly detailed. The disc will provide listeners with a new way to see this familiar symphony, performed with an original concept in line with the recent trends of thinking about Bruckner. Symphony No. 8 in C minor is one of the most imposing symphonies in the Romantic repertory, and its most celebrated movement is the Adagio—an expansive twenty-four-minute respite from the surrounding agitation. It is enduringly popular, whether as a concert or recorded work.

Johann Joseph FUX (c1660-1741)
Arias for the Emperor
Maria Ladurner (soprano) Biber Consort rec. 2020
PAN CLASSICS PC10425 [61:17]
For too long Johann Joseph Fux was a forgotten composer. He reigned supreme in Vienna until his death in 1741. But for a very long time his music was dismissed by performers and listeners alike. Perhaps the slow, stately rhythms and unhurried melodic lines were boring, and he was over-shadowed by his great successor, Joseph Haydn. And there were so few recordings. Yet in the end, times changed. Now there are many recordings of his music. This disc may well be one of the best surveys of Fux’s output of vocal music. The solo soprano in the program, Maria Ladurner, possesses an unusually beautiful instrument that lends color and warmth to the richly sonorous sound.

No comments

All comments are moderated.