Kira Ratner, piano – Tacet S 36 – Multichannel Hybrid SACD, 53 min.
This recording is another one of
those “gimmick” discs that Tacet is constantly throwing our way, with
the end result being some seriously good listening for everyone. The
concept here has the violinist, Saschko Gawriloff, playing seven
different violins, of different vintages, in a kind of “show-down.” All
seven violins are used to play the Sarabande movement from Bach’s
Partita No. 2 in D, and then several of the individual violins are used
for a variety of pieces including works from Veracini, Kreisler,
Dvorak, Paganini and Webern. It’s much more than just an exercise,
hearing the seven instruments back-to-back playing Bach, and really
interesting how very different they all do sound, indeed!
The remaining tracks are all accompanied by Kira Ratner on piano, and
all tracks are recorded using vintage tube microphones. The sound
quality is uniformly superb, regardless of which layer you choose to
listen to, though the SACD tracks get my nod for best overall sound. As
with the Bach disc above, the multichannel layer uses the surround
channels for additional ambience, which does help provide an improved
perception of image depth.
The supplied booklet has numerous photos, along with a brief history of
each violin’s maker. So which of the seven violins is the big winner?
That’s hard to say – they all have their own uniquely impressive
musical qualities – but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that soloist
Saschko Gawriloff chose three of the Cremona violins for use in three
of the five additional works found on the disc. Whether the Guarneri,
Stradivari or Amati was in use, each sang with a beauty and purity of
tone that was just unmatched by the rest of the competition. Maybe
there was something in the water, or the soil that the trees grew in
that provided the wood for these incredible instruments – whatever,
nothing in modern times comes even close. Highly recommended.