Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

A co-production between Neptunus Records and Ariel Ventures
Available from:
Neptunus Records
Björkbergsvagen 74
S - 79360 Siljansnas

Ariel Ventures
2553 12th Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119-2116

or over the internet  and

Dancing Suite To Suite
Ole Pullar SAXE (b 1952)

Dance Suite for Solo Violin (1998-2000) [39:03]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV 1004 (1720) [34:32]
Odd BAKKERUD (Dates not given)

Fanitullen for Norwegian hardangerfele [2:51]
Karen Bentley, violin, viola, hardangerfele
Rec. 23-24 October 2001, Skywalker Sound Scoring Stage, San Raphael, California DDD


If ever there was a combination of the sublime and the ridiculous, this has to be it. Half serious artist and half new age nature seeker Karen Bently finds her Scandinavian roots in this rather gimmicky combination of Sebastian Bach’s sublime second partita for solo violin with Chiropractor/holistic practitioner cum sort of composer Ole Pullar Saxe’s rambling pastiche of folk, Latin, Parisian and gypsy violin styles strewn together in a long on duration/short on ideas suite of dance pieces.

To her credit, Ms. Bentley does as much as her very able hands can do with Saxe’s rambling dance numbers. Not only does each individual movement go on for about twice as long as it has thematic material to support, the listener soon has a hard time remembering where he is. One minute we are around the campfire in Hungary surrounded by gypsy wagons, the next we are in South America dancing a tango and a salsa and, just when you made it through customs, you land in a Parisian café, listening to Lucienne Boyer’s warm-up act.

This critique of the score is not to disparage Karen Bentley’s very able violin playing. She has a lush rich tone and fine intonation. Her playing is clean and there is an obvious enthusiasm for music that she regards as coming from her ancestral roots. The whole affair would fare so much better, however, if it were half as long.

In an effort to lend the project some classical credence, we are treated to an overall fine performance of Bach’s monumental second partita for solo violin. Although I found her choice of tempi to hover on the slow side, she plays with conviction and sensitivity, with careful attention to detail and a fine sense of line. The gigantic ciaccona is delivered with ease and confidence and moves along with a good sense of forward motion. It is obviously a well-reasoned and carefully prepared performance.

The final work, for the Norwegian hardangerfele is a pleasant enough treat, and well played.

Here is a performer of considerable ability and promise who has chosen a rather cheesy way to present herself. The packaging and presentation is annoyingly homespun, and frankly looks rather amateurish. When was the last time you saw a mermaid playing her violin on the river rocks? C’mon. Notes are acceptable if completely unscholarly. This is the kind of disc you expect at craft fairs, not in the classical department.

Perhaps Ms. Bentley should consider keeping her folk and Bach projects separate, because the one Bach work is not worth the price of the disc if one has to wade through the mess of second-rate fare to get to it, regardless of how well it is played.

If you have nothing better to do with your money than spend it, then get this for a nice turn on the Bach Partita. Otherwise, pass it by.

Kevin Sutton

Hans-Theodor Wohlfahrt gave this disc a favourable welcome


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