Monday, 5 December 2016

Bach - Testament - Barton Pine

Rating: 4/5

Very skilful but something slightly lacking

I tried this because of  enthusiastic reviews by critics whom I greatly respect, but I'm afraid I found it slightly disappointing.

The music itself, of course, is sublime and Rachel Barton Pine plays it with superb technique.  She has obviously thought hard about it, too, and it's a very respectable performance from a very fine musician.  She doesn't try to overlay it spurious emotion or tricksy techniques, which I appreciate very much, but for me there's something a little lacking.  The great Chaconne from the D minor Partita never quite catches light or gives me any sense of taking me into the slightly strange and wonderful places to which Bach is leading us, for example.  The sprightly dancing movements don't have quite the spring in their step which I would like and the soulful, sometimes agonized slower movements lack some emotional depth, I think.

For me, this doesn't bring any of Viktoria Mullova's sinewy grace, Isabelle Faust's spare beauty or Rachel Podger's fabulous combination of warmth and intellectual depth, for example.  It's certainly not a bad recording and in many ways it is a very good one which greater musical minds than mine admire.  Personally, though, I'll be sticking to Podger, Faust, Mullova and one or two others.

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