Reviews: Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Faust
|Review by Lute April 22, 2014 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
|Ok.. I finally gave in and bought a copy of this set. Luckily, I could find one on sale. But now after having listened to this set several times, I think I'd even pay retail. It's that good! And I see no reason to hold back on giving it the full 5 stars. (A rosette would be a matter of personal taste, though.) There are plenty of 'expert' reviews on the internet of the RBCD version of this performance, so let me give a short review here. Isabelle Faust's performance is refreshingly clean with little vibrato. Her playing has a classical feel to it with balance and grace. Some listeners might wish for a little more bravado here and there, but these wonderfully nuanced performances have depth and strength. She has a good grasp of the music's structure, as in the C major Fugue. Tempos can be quick (the Ciaccona for example is 12:26). But, this gives the music an appealing momentum. The violin used in this recording is a 1704 Stradivarius, called 'Sleeping Beauty'.
The 2-channel stereo sound is impeccable. Perhaps due to this being a solo violin recording, I don't miss the surround image which a Mch mix would give. The miking is on the close side, but there is plenty of air around the strings. And the 24/96 recording holds up very well in comparison to the DSD recording of Bach: Sonatas & Partitas - Julia Fischer. One minor thing that could be an issue for some listeners is that Faust's breathing is audible at times. I hardly notice it, but it could bother some. I haven't heard the RBCD version, so I am unable to give a direct comparison of the two versions.
There are many fine recordings of these masterpieces for violin by J.S. Bach. No doubt most listeners have their own personal favorite(s). And since these single layer SACDs are rather expensive, it's a fair guess to say that only diehard fans of this music will feel the need to get this set. But for me, Isabelle Faust's inspired performance continues to be a joy to listen to again and again. A valuable addition... just wish it were more affordable.
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