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6 Sonatas for Violin & Piano

6 Sonatas for Violin & Piano

These particular Bach violin sonatas are written (and commonly played) with harpsichord accompaniment, but here it’s a direct transposition to the piano. In fact, this harks back to recordings made before the trend for authenticity and ‘period instruments’ took hold in the 1960s. 

Although the recording perhaps places the instruments on too equal a standing (these are violin sonatas with an accompanying keyboard, not duets), Keith Jarrett is as able an ensemble player as he is a soloist and doesn’t overshadow Michelle Mararski’s excellent violin work. The two appear to be in their own spaces at times, rather than playing together (the Adagio to Violin Sonata No 3 in E in particular, where Jarrett seems to drop into jazz phrasing), but strangely that seems to work exceptionally well. Like all musicians, most jazzers love Bach, yet can’t help bringing their own sensibilities to the music, but for the most part Jarrett keeps that very much in check. This is Bach through and through

And of course, it’s all recorded in the sort of demonstration quality sound that ECM has made its stock in trade. Perhaps not a mandatory recommendation then, but a disc that’s well worth seeking out. 

By Nicholas Ripley

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