Solo Violin Partitas Nos 1-3
Linus Roth (violin)
Evil Penguin EPRC 0040 81:54 mins
Whereas the majority of players tend to focus on the pseudo-contrapuntal nature of Bach’s solo violin music, often snatching at multi-stopped chords and even gently fading out the lower note in sustained double-stops – in fact anything to help sustain the illusion of the ‘long line’ – Linus Roth positively relishes the harmonic implications of Bach’s structural plan. Multiple stops are gently cosseted and double-stops sustained with golden-toned purity as moments to savour the effect of where the music has arrived harmonically and where it is heading. More than ever, the famous opening of the D minor Chaconne sounds like an organ mapping out the music’s harmonic continuity.
The other thing that marks out Roth’s playing is its Henryk Szeryng-like consistency of dynamic and tonal-intonational purity. If the modern tendency is to almost exaggerate the music’s potential for dynamic contrast and varied articulation, Roth sustains his flawlessly smooth, luxuriously toned sonority, so that each movement emerges in terms of its majestic formal perfection, undistracted by interpretive ticks and quirks. Few players can resist turning the brilliant opening Preludio of the E major Partita into a bit of a showpiece, but Roth transmutes the temptation for rapid string-crossing bravado into longer-term rewards.