Bach • Ysaye • Auerbach
We’re told that Vadim Gluzman ‘harkens back in technique and sensibility to the Golden Age of violinists of the 19th and 20th centuries…’, and technically the playing is well nigh faultless, with double-stops impeccably tuned, and passagework scurrying effortlessly. The Giga from the Second Partita has small details of rubato, but comes across as a well-oiled, high-powered machine. Maybe that’s fine for a vigorous dance movement, but when the same rationale is applied to the great Chaconne, I can’t help feeling that the trees have become more important than the wood. The Gavotte en Rondeau in the Third Partita has little holdups between phrases that are all identical, and sound calculated.
In the Ysaÿe Sonata, which initially takes the opening of this Bach Partita, and combines it obsessively with the Dies Irae, Gluzman sounds like a completely different player. Suddenly there’s flexibility of rhythm, and that wide variety of tone and dynamics which was largely missing from the Bach. And it’s good to hear even a little sense of struggle as he conquers Ysaÿe’s demanding writing.
The ten short movements of Auerbach’s par.ti.ta refract Bach through a contemporary prism and Gluzman finds even more colour and concentration, captured by the in-depth recording.