Monday, 10 August 2015

Rachel Podger - Guardian Angel

Rating: 5/5

A terrific disc

This is yet another terrific disc from Rachel Podger. It's a collection of what she describes as favourite pieces played on solo violin. It's largely out-of-the-way repertoire, but it makes for a terrifically enjoyable and rewarding programme.

The Usual Suspects of the solo violin repertoire don't really feature here, but there is a wonderful transcription (Podger's owm) of Bach's Partita for Solo Flute BWV1013 which works extremely well on the violin - she says in her contribution to the notes, "I would often play it for fun as a warm up (which would disorient the flute player in the room!)". In addition there are works by Tartini, Matteis, Pisendel and the Passacaglia from Biber's Rosary Sonatas (the engraving for which gives this disc its title). It is a varied and fascinating programme which is just a pleasure to listen to but has genuine musical depth, too.

What makes this special is Rachel Podger's playing, of course. I have enjoyed her work for a very long time now and fell irredeemably in love when I heard her solo Bach discs - which remain my favourite recordings of the Sonatas and Partitas.  She has phenomenal technique which allows her to sound utterly natural throughout the most demanding passages, and is utterly at home in this repertoire. She also has a wonderful sense of the music's meaning which shines through every movement here and shows that her standing as an international star is wholly justified. I'm sorry to gush, but I really do think this is something special.

Channel Classics' recorded sound is excellent and the presentation is attractive with good notes. Even allowing for my pre-existing admiration for Rachel Podger, this is a cracking disc all round and very warmly recommended.

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