Antje Weitaus Performs Violin Sonatas by JS Bach and Ysaÿe

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LABELS: Avi Music
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach • Ysaÿe
WORKS: JS Bach: Solo Sonata No. 2, BWV 1003; Partita No. 3, BWV 1006; Ysaÿe: Solo Sonatas Op. 27/s3 & 5
PERFORMER: Antje Weithaas (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: 8553346  


In this second volume of solo Bach and Ysaÿe, Antje Weithaas’s desire to make the violin sing regardless of technical pressure or physical awkwardness pays special dividends. In the solo Bach pieces, Weithaas makes even the A minor fugue sound like musical droplets falling onto a warm bed of contrapuntal moss, with ringingly true intonation and golden sound, subtly inflected by an infinite range of gently cushioned bow-strokes. Although recorded with tactile precision against a backdrop of radiant ambience, so exemplary is her control of bow pressure, speed, weight, micro-inflection and angle that in a movement notorious for causing ‘noises-off’ she emerges almost totally unscathed. Most importantly, Weithaas plays with a suppleness of phrase that leads the ear effortlessly on. In the wrong hands the Andante of Bach’s A minor Sonata, with its gently throbbing ‘accompaniment’ in the Italian style, can seem interminable; but such is Weithaas’s exultant sense of where the music is travelling that one is left wishing it would go on unspiralling forever. 

Similarly, the opening ‘L’aurore’ of Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 5, which can seem a car-crash of colliding ideas devoid of narrative flow, here grows organically phrase by phrase, like the opening of petals in springtime. Some might find her probing account of Bach’s E major Partita slightly over-interventionist when compared to more centralist readings, yet the sheer joy she communicates in music-making brings its own rewards.


Julian Haylock