Regular readers of this blog know that I´m a self-declared fanboy of the German violinist Isabelle Faust, as seen here, here, or here.
While I wasn´t too much of an admirer of her recent Mendelssohn concerto recording, as it was “too HIP for my taste”, generally I tend to buy pretty much everything she releases.
Her Bach violin solo sonatas recording (in two volumes, also on Harmonia Mundi) is already excellent, so I was very curious to see how her latest release of the Bach would turn out.
I was particularly curious given that we get the amazing Kristian Bezuidenhout on the harpsichord, a South-African pianist and keyboard player focusing on historic instruments that I’ve already mentioned in My Must Have Mozart Albums.
Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed!
Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord – Isabelle Faust & Kristian Bezuidenhout (Harmonia Mundi 2018)
Unlike the famous sonatas for solo violin, these sonatas are much less often played. Which really is a pity as it is beautiful music that are really worth being explored in more detail.
By the way, these duo sonatas could also be performed in trio form with an optional viola da gamba. Here we get the duo form.
I complained about the Mendelssohn lacking some richness in sound and playing.
Here honestly I wouldn’t know what to criticize. The sound of Faust relatively bright Stradivarius is just perfect here in all its brilliance , even singing in a way, and Bezuidenhout plays a harpsichord that has a beautiful rich body.
Harpsichords occasionally can sound a bit thin, making some Bach harpsichord recordings sound more like a typewriter.
None of that here, this is music that is engaging, even dancing, with two equal partners that visibly enjoy playing together.
The recording beautifully showcases the close connection these two masters have developed musically, and makes this entire recording a sheer pleasure to listen to.
My rating: 5 stars
You can find it here (Qobuz) and here (Prostudiomasters)
UPDATE Feb 28, 2018: Gramophone agrees and gives this album an “Editor´s Choice” in their March 2018 issue.
4 thoughts on “Isabelle Faust & Kristian Bezuidenout Play Bach Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord – A Sheer Pleasure!”
A good news: After the double album of the Violin and Harpsichord Sonatas with Kristian Bezuidenhout, a bestseller in 2018, here is the next instalment in a Bach recording adventure that began nine years ago with a set of the Sonatas and Partitas now regarded as a benchmark. Isabelle Faust, Bernhard Forck and his partners at the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin have patiently explored a multitude of other works by Bach: harpsichord concertos, trio sonatas for organ, instrumental movements from sacred cantatas etc. All are revealed here as direct or indirect relatives of the three monumental Concertos BWV 1041-43. This fascinating achievement is a timely reminder that the master of The Well-Tempered Clavier was also a virtuoso violinist!
Thanks for sharing! This looks really interesting. Will have to check that out.