JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Partitas

by | May 10, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Partitas – Florin Paul, violin – Tacet S 10 – Multichannel Hybrid SACD, 75 min. *****:

When it comes to Bach’s Partitas for solo violin, many listeners would
probably feel no need to reach any further in their collection other
than for classic recordings by Grumiaux, Heifetz or Milstein. And while
this recent offering from Tacet probably won’t unshelve any of the
masters based on absolute artistic values, it does, nonetheless, offer
very compelling performances of the Partitas, all captured in superb
SACD transfers. Violinist Florin Paul acquits himself admirably
throughout, but the really stunning sound quality here is the real
reason to add this disc to you library.

A number of excellent recordings have appeared on the Tacet label, but
most of the recent buzz revolving around them has dealt with either
their often unusual approach to recording music for surround sound,
where individual instruments are assigned to specific channels – or, as
in this particular recording, where classic tube microphones are
employed in the session. This disc, whose recording session dates from
1989, uses two Neumann U47 tube microphones to spectacular effect – and
offers a truly sumptuous string tone, along with an incredibly palpable
recreation of the 1689 Stradivari violin employed here. While the Red
Book CD layer is quite good, the real revelation is in hearing either
the stereo or multichannel SACD layers. Tacet has chosen in the
multichannel mix to simply augment the sound with the rear channels to
create more of a sense of ambience; while the effect is quite subtle,
it does indeed achieve the desired goal of more of a sense of
envelopment and preservation of the recorded acoustic. Stereo listeners
won’t be disappointed, though – Tacet is one of the handful of
companies that seem quite competent at delivering superb ambience and
acoustical cues from just a couple of well-placed microphones. Very
highly recommended – this disc is such a delight to listen to, that
it’s more than generous 75-minute playing time passes all too quickly!

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