> Bach Flute Sonatas Feinstein [KM] : Classical Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
The Flute Sonatas

Partita in A minor BWV1013 (for solo flute)
Sonata in B minor BWV1030
Sonata in A major BWV1032
Sonata in E minor BWV1034
Sonata in E major BWV1035
Martin Feinstein, flute
Maggie Cole, harpsichord
Nicholas Roberts, cello
Rec: June 2000, Potton Hall, Suffolk, England.
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Martin Feinstein takes a huge risk opening this recording with the solo flute partita BWV 1013. This is a very difficult work to play - not that the music itself calls for a virtuoso flautist, but, like Bach’s solo works for violin or cello, it calls for the subtlest manner of infusing the right emotion into the music. One does not play this music, one must live it. Unfortunately, Feinstein does not give the impression that he is living the music; it sounds like he is merely playing the notes. Not only does he take long pauses to breathe - pauses which are long enough to be disturbing - he gives the music no soul. He plays the notes, he plays the melodies, but the music does not come to life.

The final movement of the work, the Bourrée Anglaise, is the only part where he seems to be in touch with the music. Even then, however, he lacks the real vitality to give this music the emotion it deserves.

Yet all this changes when the B minor sonata for flute and harpsichord begins. Alone, Feinstein seems to be battling with nature, but supported by the harpsichord - excellently played by Maggie Cole - he focuses himself much better. It is as if he needs the structure of the accompaniment to make this music sound good. While his tone is not always perfect - which is either a result of his flute or the recording itself; he sounds shrill at times. He gives the music a much better time in these pieces where he is accompanied. Unfortunately, the flute is a bit too prominent, and the harpsichord does not get to play its appropriate role.

Nicholas Roberts’ cello has a rich deep sound, and the two final sonatas for flute and continuo benefit from this, even though, as for the flute and harpsichord sonatas, the flute is too far forward. In the faster movements of these two sonatas, there is a nice interplay among the musicians, but this falls away in the slow movements.

There is good and less good on this disc. While the solo flute partita is disappointing, the other works are well played. The lack of balance among the instruments detracts a little from the music, and the musicians do not always sound very tight. This is far from the best recording of these works, though better than many.

Kirk McElhearn



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Partita in A Minor,


Sonata in B Minor, Andante
Largo e dolce

Sonata in A Major, BWV1032
Largo e dolce

Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1034 -
Adagio ma non tanto

Sonata in E Major, BWV1035
Adagio ma non tanto
Allegro assai

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