Solo Chaconnes - Bach, Reger, Barth / Jennifer Koh
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Now here's imaginative and illuminating programming for you: Bach's D minor solo partita featuring its renowned Chaconne, followed by a pair of late-Romantic violin chaconnes loosely patterened after Bach's powerful model. I like the lightness of touch, sweetly singing tone, and intimate drama characterizing Jennifer Koh's superb reading of the Bach partita. Her sound is not huge and assertive in the manner of Gregory Fulkerson and Nathan Milstein's reference versions, yet Koh's rich palette of dynamics and articulations, together with her purposeful bass lines, add variety and color to the steady tempos she favors. These qualities allow Reger's craggy lines to unfold in an unpressured manner that both complements and contrasts to Michelle Makarski's starker, bigger-boned traversal on ECM.
Richard Barth (1850-1908) was a violinist in Brahms' circle who also conducted and taught. Koh makes a thoughtful and musicianly case for Barth's skillfully-crafted and well-sustained B minor Chaconne, a work more violinists should investigate. At least its attractions now are known to one grateful critic, who expects to return time and again to this winning, beautifully engineered disc.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: CDR 060
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Max Reger, Richard Barth
Performer: Jennifer Koh