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Emmanuele Dauvin (violin and organ)
rec. 15-17 October 2020, L’eglise de Guignicourt, France HITASURA HSP007 [60:45]
Emmanuelle Dauvin studied baroque violin at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and at the Schola Cantorum in Basel and is a specialist in 17th and 18th century music, performing widely as a soloist and as a member of the Nef de Fous trio. The genesis of this programme of music by Bach and Biber has been Dauvin’s fascination with polyphonic violin music, and the various ways of overcoming the difficulties of performing multiple voices on a solo instrument.
One such solution, taking on the spirit of the organists Brahms and Bach, was to play the pedalboard of an organ while playing the violin at the same time, “in order to make the harmonic structure stronger, and the interpretation more solid.” I have to say that this works extremely well. Some movements require only a single pedal tone, such as the Praeludium to Bach’s BWV 1023, but where lines are more complex there is a clear musical satisfaction to the result, as much as there is an admiration for Emmanuelle Dauvin’s skill and coordination.
Biber’s Mystery or Rosary Sonatas are composed with basso continuo accompaniment, and you can find versions with organ accompaniment up to versions with entire chamber ensembles. There is a degree of austerity to the violin plus organ pedal sound, but only really if you are used to more lusciously arranged recordings. Dauvin’s skill as a violinist fills the sound as much as anything, and intense pieces such as the Passacagli develop their own drama and dynamic through her playing. I for one didn’t feel I was missing anything from the performance.
Bach’s Partita BWV 1002 is split into two over the programme as you can see from the track listing, and these oases of violin without organ deliver admirable contrast. Dauvin’s Bach is refined and unpretentious, and sounds glorious in the lovely church acoustic in which this recording has been made. The pairing of Bach’s abstract polyphony with Biber’s more pictorial music also works very well indeed. There are of course fifteen Mystery Sonatas so this is by no means a complete rendition, but the climax of the programme comes appropriately with Biber’s lengthy and elaborate Sonata X - Crucifixion, played with gusto, daring and absolute emotional involvement by Dauvin.
This is a beautifully recorded CD. There are one or two moments when changing organ registers where you hear some mechanical noise, but this is all part of the performance and is by no means distracting. The whole production transcends what at first glance might seem as its ‘experimental’ nature. Emmanuelle Dauvin’s personal development and revival of a practice known to musical history but apparently lost to us today is strikingly effective, and with its colourfully illustrated double gatefold presentation this release is a very nice thing to have indeed.
Contents Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER (1644-1704)
Sonata I - Annonciation [6:05] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Partita prima a Violino solo senza Basso, BWV 1002 Allemanda [4:17] Double [1:39] Corrente [1:43] Double [2:13] Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER
Sonata III - Nativité [6:30] Johann Sebastian BACH
Sonata a Violino solo col Basso, BWV 1023 (Praeludium) [1:18] Adagio ma non tanto [3:12] Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER
Sonata VI a Violino solo (1681) (Praeludium) [1:36] Passacagli [5:58] Johann Sebastian BACH
Partita prima a Violino solo senza Basso, BWV 1002 Sarabande [3:42] Double [1:37] Tempo di Borea [2:15] Double [2:34] Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER
Sonata X - Crucifixion [9:05]
Sonata VI a Violino solo (Praeludium) [1:47] Gavotta [2:04] Adagio, Allegro [3:03]