Bach: Partita for Solo Violin in D minor, BWV 1004; Partita for Solo Violin in E, BWV 1006; Sonata for Solo Violin in C, BWV 1005

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Partita for Solo Violin in D minor, BWV 1004; Partita for Solo Violin in E, BWV 1006; Sonata for Solo Violin in C, BWV 1005
PERFORMER: Hilary Hahn (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: SK 62793
Bach’s six unaccompanied solos – three each of partitas and sonatas – have long been regarded as the pinnacle of violin writing and the most elusive of goals for the aspiring performer. The sonatas, generally denser than the partitas, are in four movements, while the partitas offer a sequence of lighter pieces in dance rhythms. The young American virtuoso Hilary Hahn plays the E major and D minor Partitas and the C major Sonata in her first recording. This is an exciting debut. Hahn, a pupil of the late Jascha Brodsky, to whom her recital is dedicated, is a self-confessed lover of Bach’s music; and it shows in her every phrase and expressive gesture. The Prelude of the E major Partita is dazzling, the Sarabande of the D minor Partita well-sustained, contemplative and lovingly shaped, and the mighty Fugue of the C major, clearly argued, virtuosic and technically unassailable. My only reservation here concerns the famous D minor Chaconne, which begins stiffly and perhaps a shade aggressively. But there are many delicately shaded moments to follow, in which Hahn’s affection for Bach’s music becomes apparent at almost every turn; and the concluding movement of the C major Sonata is a tour de force. I long to hear more. Nicholas Anderson

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