J.S. Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for violin/Perlman

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 10

Every moment of Itzhak Perlman’s 1988 Bach Sonatas and Partitas cycle constitutes sweetly singing, tonally generous, and technically irreproachable violin playing. His supreme bow control, for example, allows him to sustain unusually broad tempos in the D minor partita’s Chaconne and the C major sonata’s opening Adagio, while quicker movements burst forth with effortless, shimmering joy. Granted, Perlman’s phrasing generally falls into symmetrical patterns and does not generate the same harmonic tension or melodic pointing that Nathan Milstein’s DG recordings achieve. In addition, other violinists voice the difficult fugues with more varied articulations and dynamic shadings, as in the more intimate, lighter-toned interpretations by James Ehnes and Christian Tetzlaff. Yet in the realm of modern-day, mainstream fiddling, Perlman represents something close to the gold standard. His heartfelt musicianship and tasteful instincts serve both instrument and composer proud. If you’re looking for a splendidly engineered violin counterpart to your favorite recording of the Bach Cello Suites, this definitely is it. [11/30/2005]



Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Milstein (DG), Tetzlaff (Virgin)

J.S. BACH - Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin

  • Itzhak Perlman (violin)
  • EMI - 4 76811 2
  • CD

Share This Review: