Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616


alternatively Crotchet



Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
The Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin: Vol. 2

Partita No. 2 in d minor (BWV 1004) [28:41]
Sonata No. 3 in C (BWV 1005) [21:49]
Partita No. 3 in E (BWV 1006) [18:05]
Jacqueline Ross (violin)
rec. May-June 2006, St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, UK. DDD
GAUDEAMUS CD GAU 359 [78:39]


In the booklet for this disc Robin Stowell describes how musicologists and musicians from generations after Bach have dealt with his six works for solo violin. He also refers to the so-called 'Bach bow', with which violinists tried to realise the polyphony in these compositions. And then he continues: "How refreshing and fascinating it now is to be able to listen to the likes of Jacqueline Ross performing these challenging works using Bach's autograph as the principal source along with the form of the instrument and bow that Bach would have employed!" One would almost think this is a fully new development. But there are many recordings with period instruments available, and the oldest date from more than forty years ago! And does anyone still believe that the 'Bach bow' has any historical relevance.

The three partitas and three sonatas for violin solo were composed at the latest in 1720, when Bach lost his position as 'Hofkapellmeister' in Cöthen. There is no certainty as to why Bach wrote them. Some suggest he may have played them during concerts at the court in Cöthen. That is a possibility: Bach was a most accomplished violinist after all. But it is also possible Bach did not have performances in mind when he wrote these works. They could also be considered explorations of various compositional techniques as well as of the possibilities of the instrument. In that case one could compare them with keyboard works like the Wohltemperirte Clavier or the Kunst der Fuge.

In these six solos Bach pays tribute to the two national styles then dominant in Europe. In the three Sonatas he links up with the Italian 'sonata da chiesa'. They all consist of four movements (slow-fast-slow-fast), the second of which is a fugue. The three Partitas are influenced by the French style and consist of dance movements; the number of movements increases from four (Partita No. 1) to six (Partita No. 3). In particular the second is modelled after the French suite as it closes with an extended chaconne. Despite the Italian and French influences these solos have an unmistakable German flavour, in particular because of the use of polyphony.

This is the second volume of the complete recording of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo; the first volume I am not acquainted with. When I started listening there were several aspects of her performances which I noticed with satisfaction. She seems to be well aware of the rhetorical nature of these compositions, and as a result adopts a strongly speaking style of playing, in line with the baroque principle of 'music as speech'. I like the clear articulation and the differentiation between good and bad notes. Other positive aspects are a good sense of rhythm and the contrast between and within movements, although I think this could be stronger, for instance within the chaconne from the Partita No. 2. I would also have liked to hear more dynamic shades. The preludio of the Partita No. 3 is played with panache, and I really liked the dancing rhythm of the gavotte en rondeau. The menuets of this partita are also very well done, with some nice ornamentation.

So there is definitely a lot to enjoy. But there is one thing which bothers me: Ms Ross tends to give too much emphasis to the first note of chords, which sometimes makes them fall apart. As a result the rhythmic pulse, which I admire in these interpretations, is sometimes undermined. That is certainly the case in the fugue of the Sonata No. 3: the emphasis on the first note of the chord adds a fraction to the time of the chord and disrupts the rhythm, which otherwise is well realised. As I can't believe this is a technical shortcoming, it must be a deliberate artistic decision, which I don't understand.

So far I haven't heard a recording which satisfies me in every respect, and maybe such an interpretation is an illusion anyway. Keeping that in mind I do not hesitate in recommending  this recording. It should be ranked among the best available, at least on the basis of this second volume.

Johan van Veen



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos







Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.