Solo Violin Sonatas Nos 1-3
Linus Roth (violin)
Evil Penguin EPRC 0039 68:15 mins
During his five years at the court of Cöthen, from 1718-23, Bach produced some of his finest instrumental music. The sonatas and partitas for solo violin composed at this time have a beauty and intensity unrivalled in the repertoire. Biber’s solo violin music was a strong precursor, but Bach transcended these earlier models. Employing the familiar frame of the Italian church sonata, with its alternation of slow and fast movements, he produced in the three sonatas for violin works that take familiar rhythms and textures to new heights.
In a very personal accompanying note, Linus Roth writes of his intimate connection with Bach’s solo violin music from his earliest years, but also the way in which the exceptional circumstances of lockdown allowed him an ‘escape into a spiritual freedom’ in order to re-immerse himself in this remarkable music. His approach results in an attractive ‘inward’ quality, superbly captured by the recorded sound, bringing a poised and meditative dimension to the fugues, in particular that of the A minor Sonata. Not everything is flawless, but the C major Sonata is particularly winning with a serene opening Adagio and an exultant concluding Allegro which avoids any hint of flashy display.