BACH: Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1042; Solo Partita in No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006; Solo Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004 – Zino Francescatti, violin/ Cleveland Orchestra/ George Szell – Biddulph

by | Dec 4, 2005 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

BACH: Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1042; Solo Partita
in No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006; Solo Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004
– Zino Francescatti, violin/ Cleveland Orchestra/ George Szell

Biddulph 80207-2   mono 62:14 (Distrib. Albany) ****:

Zino Francescatti (1902-1991) inscribed only three works of Bach for
CBS: the Violin Concerto in E Major (13 January 1953, issued on ML
4648) and two unaccompanied Partitas, recorded 23 May 1950 and 24 April
1952 (and issued on ML 4915). No less rare are George Szell’s
incursions into Baroque music, often criticized as too heavy for the
style, although Szell uses a harpsichord to thin out the bass textures
in the romantic realization of the Concerto. Szell’s own contribution
in the last movement is palpably energized. What sells the album is
Francescatti’s ultra-bright sheen and silken tone, the facility of his
slides and attacks, the rounded intonation and articulation of the
notes, especially in the higher registers.

Francescatti’s opening run of 16th notes for the Prelude of the E Major
Partita carries us along with spectacular momentum, which, along with
the grand line and effortless double-stopping in the Adagio of the
Concerto, convince us that Bach comprised more of Francescattti’s
repertory than his discography attests. The test of the D Minor
Partita, unsurprisingly, is the massive Chaconne, rendered with a
spaciousness and sense of line which attests to long familiarity with
the style. Francescatti uses rubato and portamento to his own purpose,
effecting a high gloss throughout. Collectors know that his very last
recording, for DGG, included the two solo concertos and the Double
Concerto with Regis Pasquier. I recommend connoisseurs direct
themselves to the Loure and Gavotte and Rondeau of the E Major Partita
for instances of Francescattti’s especial artistry. His was a tone and
graciousness in violin playing not to be encountered anywhere else, and
it seldom disappointed.

–Gary Lemco

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