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Thread: Bach, solo violin

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    Default Bach, solo violin

    Hi,
    Which would you say is the best recording of Bach 6 sonatas & partitas for solo violin?
    I'll start of: I think it's the one by Henryk Szeryng.
    Thanks for your opinions.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    Agree.But the recording he made on Columbia label,before DGG

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    The one by Milstein is a great one.

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    Senior Member Saturnus's Avatar
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    John Holloway

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    This are not in top of the lists, but certainly two I really like

    Kuijken playing baroque violin and...
    George Enescu, in his historical recordings.

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    Hilary Hahn Plays Bach

    Amazing. . .

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    Junior Member captaintim's Avatar
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    Henryk Szeryng was a great violinist, absolutely amazing but his playing has about as much understanding of Bach as Wayne Rooney's would

    Try someone with a little more styllistic knowledge. Some of the things that many players from his generation do are just fundametally wrong and a lot of important discoveries have been made since his recordings were made. I'm not trying to knock him down, I fully appreciate just how good he is, but I would really suggest finding a selection of recordings from a baroque violinist. It doesn't really matter which instrument they're played on, but it does matter how they're played and a baroque fiddler is more likely to understand the phrasing etc than someone who hasn't studied early music all that much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captaintim View Post
    I'm not trying to knock him down.
    I truly hope you don't.

    You know... Szeryng wasn't just a dude from the neighborhood. Messing around with a violin.

    ....


    He was indeed one of the best violinists of the last century.

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    Junior Member captaintim's Avatar
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    I don't deny that - I know he was awesome, a magnificent sound and probably played about two notes out of tune in his whole life, but I'm just saying that we've learnt much more about performing Bach and music from that period now - perhaps it is wise to take advantage of these advances by looking for recordings that take performance practice more into account.

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    Senior Member Saturnus's Avatar
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    I strongly agree with captaintim, many of those great (romantic) violin legends didn't understand or didn't have access to knowlegde of baroque. I know many of them were great violinists but please try out historical recordings (like the one with Holloway I mentioned above), then you might hear how the works were supposed to function and sound, hear Bach's genius, not Szering's genius.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    No doubt Bach himself dictated to baroque violinists how those works should be played.
    He didn't talk to Szering, maybe because he was a polish jew?.

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    And several hundred years younger?

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    I really admire those who "know" how a baroque piece should be played. They have
    messages from the other world, or can talk personally with the composers. Or maybe
    they were in the past on a live concerto and can remember how was it played. But they
    know, yes, they know without any doubt.

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    Junior Member captaintim's Avatar
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    Nothing will ever be totally conclusive, but if you've studied bach, performance practice, have a knowledge of baroque dance, ornamentation, an understanding of harmony and rhetoric then you have a better chance of 'knowing' (as you say) how the music should be played.

    Not to say that 2 people, or even 1 person will ever play the same piece in the same way because 'that's how it goes', but it is vital to understand the style, to understand where bach was coming from and to understand some of the performing conventions of the day, otherwise you are simply not playing the music that bach wrote.

    Although Bach ornamented his music himself far more than any other baroque composer, there is still a basic understanding of the style that is required before you can get close to knowing how to play his music. Too many people don't do this and consequently we have too many performances that are totally irrelevant even if the instrumental playing might well be fantastic.

    Its not that people who have studied this music 'know' how it goes, but we sure have a headstart on people who don't - same as anything in life. You wouldn't drive a car through London without learning how to drive first.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    I wouldn't drive a car through London in any circumstances. Well,maybe in the
    South, between 2 and 6 AM.

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