Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Bach - Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard - Makarski/Jarrett


A good interpretation

I like these interpretations. I was rather dubious about the piano/violin combination, but for me it works well here. It's an interesting perspective and in places is very beautiful.

Both Michelle Makarski and Keith Jarrett are very good musicians who have an excellent sense of what Bach's music is about. That essential rhythmic pulse is there when needed and although Makarski is a little freer with the vibrato and rubato than I would like in places, it's by no means excessive and both she and Jarrett judge ornamentation very well. They combine together with great precision and the effect is often very engaging, but I did find that they seem oddly disengaged from each other in places. Perhaps it's just me, but in the Largo of the G major Sonata, for example, there somehow seems to be a sense of two instruments being played perfectly in tune and time but almost in separate worlds. I can't quite put my finger on why and you may disagree, but it does disconcert me from time to time in these discs.

Small personal feelings aside, this is a good recording of these fine works and one I'm glad to have. Obviously, this set is very suitable if you'd like to hear the sonatas well played on piano and violin. I have three treasured recordings for violin and harpsichord which won't be superseded in my affections by this set, but I would still recommend it as a set of often interesting and enjoyable performances.

(For a violin and harpsichord recording, I'd probably recommend Rachel Podger and Trevor Pinnock  but I also love the recordings by Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr and by Viktoria Mullova and Ottavio Dantone.)

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