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Galina Barinova
Johann Sebastian BACH

Sonata No.1 for violin and harpsichord in G major BWV 1021 (1717-1723) [10:21] ¹
Sonata for violin and harpsichord in A BWV 1015 (1717-1723) [15:03] ¹
Sonata for violin and harpsichord in E BWV 1016(1717-1723) [20:18] ²
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)

Sonata in G Minor, ‘Didone abbandonata’ Op. 1 No. 10 B g 10 [14:50] ²
Galina Barinova (violin)
Sviatoslav Richter (piano) ¹
Leonid Roizman (organ) ²
rec. 1952 (BWV 1015, 1021), 1962 (BWV 1016) and 1961 (Tartini)

Experience Classicsonline

Galina Barinova was for a time one of the Soviet Union’s star violinists. I wrote a little about her in my review of a Melodiya disc devoted to resurrecting some of her recordings (see review). To recap briefly she was born in 1910 in St Petersburg and studied with Paul Kochanski amongst others, though later gravitated to Thibaud in Paris, Carl Flesch having left for America and being thus unavailable. At the age of twenty-seven she took third place in the All-Soviet Union violin competition but it was in the post-War years that her career took off. As I also noted in that previous review her big recordings, the most valuable and important things in her discography are not here - the Karłowicz Concerto with Kondrashin, which gained some renown when re-released in the West on Westminster; her Sibelius with Orlov in 1947, and the Glazunov with Anosov in 1952.

What we do have however are two Bach sonatas with Richter and one with organist Leonid Roizman and as an imposing finale Tartini’s ‘Didone abbandonata’ sonata, once more with Roizman. These have rarity value and it’s good to welcome them into the fold. I see that when referring to her intonation I referred to it as tending toward the ‘creative’. Barinova shared with many Russian violinists the tendency to tune off-centre; but most of them tuned sharp to cut through orchestral accompaniment. For the most part her intonation is flatter. Given her slow vibrato this becomes an issue impossible to avoid.

In the Sonata in G major BWV 1021 her intonation as at its most dubious in the opening movement whilst that endemically slow vibrato robs the Andante of the Sonata in A BWV 1015 of colour. Variations of tonal contrast are here but not of sufficient quantity and quality. Her trill is also quite slow – almost the opposite of an electric trill. It won’t be a surprise to learn that she is at her most effective in fast movements where the articulation is pretty clean and the ensemble with Richter effective. I find Richter’s pecking staccati in the third movement of BWV 1015 ineffective however and for all its inwardness Barinova’s playing lacks depth.

The organ accompanied BWV 1016 was taped in a rather sepulchral acoustic in 1962. There’s rather a Gormenghast element to this combination and to this recording. Barinova’s sound is essentially unchanged and her trill hasn’t speeded up in the interim. Phrasing is warm, rather generalised and a touch marmoreal. The Tartini, again with Roizman, is cut from staple Russian Baroque-Romantic tradition. It’s heavy, outsize and actually – if you have a taste for it – rather engaging.

This is part of RCD’s ‘Russian Violin School’ series, itself part of the ‘Talents of Russia’ flag under which this series sails. I commend it to the inevitable specialist market – which I hope includes Barinova admirers amongst the throng of Richter collectors.

I don’t make a fetish of commenting on the booklet notes - because I tend to get on with listening - but this one reads better than most in the series.

Jonathan Woolf






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