Rachael Podger, unaccompanied violin – “Guardian Angel” – BACH: Partita for flute in a minor; NICOLA MATTEIS: From “Other Ayres”; TARTINI: Sonata in a & b; PISENDEL: Sonata for violin solo; BIBER: Passacaglia in g “The Guardian Angel” – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 35513, 78:30 (Distr. by Harmonia mundi) [11/12/13]****:
Normally I would be bored by an album of unaccompanied violin, but Rodger caught my ear on this one. The overall title comes from the work by the most celebrated violinist-composer of the 17th century, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber. His work closes out the SACD. His collection of sonatas had unprecedented formal complexities for performers, including three- and four-part writing, scoradatura, and flamboyant demands on the performer. Some experts feel that the Passacaglia at the end of the sonata collection prefigures Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D Minor in its depiction of a child and an angel.
The Pisendel Sonata was written in 1716, just prior to Bach’s famous Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas, and one wonders if Bach was familiar with it. The two men had actually met. The Bach Partita is original in A minor for flute and Podger has here transcribed it into G minor for solo violin. The four movements are: Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande and Bouree Anglaise. Although Tartini wrote a bass line for many of violin works, he stated that his true intention was to play these works with the bass, where melodic freedom can reign. That’s what Podger does in the her performance of the both sonatas here. Matteis has a quirkiness in his writing, and the three movements heard here sound conceived in the spur of the moment.
Who says there is no value in a hi-res surround recording of a single solo instrument? This SACD proves differently.
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