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  • Bach: The Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo /Holloway
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Bach: The Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo /Holloway


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Audio CD, October 10, 2006
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001 - 1. Adagio 3:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001 - 2. Fuga (Allegro) 6:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001 - 3. Siciliana 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001 - 4. Presto 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Allemanda 5:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Double 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Corrente 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Double. Presto 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Sarabande 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Double 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Tempo di Borea 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002 - Double 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003 - 1. Grave 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003 - 2. Fuga 8:22Album Only
listen15. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003 - 3. Andante 5:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003 - 4. Allegro 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 - 1. Allemande 4:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 - 2. Corrente 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 - 3. Sarabande 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 - 4. Giga 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 - 5. Ciaccona13:04Album Only
listen  6. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.3 in C, BWV 1005 - 1. Adagio 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.3 in C, BWV 1005 - 2. Fuga11:12Album Only
listen  8. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.3 in C, BWV 1005 - 3. Largo 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No.3 in C, BWV 1005 - 4. Allegro assai 5:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 1. Preludio 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 2. Loure 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 3. Gavotte en Rondeau 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 4a. Minuet I 1:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 4b. Menuet II [- Menuet I da capo] 1:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 5. Bourrée 1:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E, BWV 1006 - 6. Gigue 2:00$0.99  Buy MP3 

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John Holloway’s recordings for ECM New Series have included many exhilarating and inspired accounts of baroque small ensemble music, and cast new light on composers including Biber, Schmelzer, Veracini and Leclair. If little is known about the lives of Dario Castello and Giovanni Battista Fontana, subjects of Holloway’s newest disc, surviving works by both men show them to have ... Read more in Amazon's John Holloway Store

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Product Details

  • Performer: John Holloway
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (October 10, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: ECM Records
  • ASIN: B000HWXS1O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,295 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Bach's unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas have been called every violinist's Everest and Bible. Mastering them is like scaling Everest's heights; penetrating their intellectual and emotional content like experiencing the Bible's depths. No wonder they inspire different, personal responses in every player. Holloway's concept, explained in his liner notes and projected in his performance, is very much his own, based on rigorous historical scholarship and passionate involvement. His technical command is extraordinarily effortless and entirely at the service of the music. His tone is pure and, recorded in a church, but his violin does not sound "baroque" to the naked ear. His style, however, certainly does. The tuning is low, the intonation is tempered, and he uses very little vibrato. The voice-leading and counterpoint are clear; Holloway even brings out the themes in the bass of the arpeggiated chords though he breaks them all upward. With remarkable bow-control, he meticulously observes articulation and dynamics. He takes all repeats (except one in the A-minor Sonata, which he feels would undercut the movement's drama), but almost never varies them. Tempi are sensible, only the Prestos get hectic and muddled; the slow movements are stately and austere but flowing, the fugues are admirable. The dances really dance; most endings fade away. His approach to rhythm is no doubt authentic but sometimes idiosyncratic, with inconsistencies in double-dotting and sustaining notes, long pauses between phrases, thrown-away ornamental figures, and excessively improvisatory Preludes. A sense of strain shows only in the C-major Sonata's murderous fugue and in the D-minor Partita, which is marred by wrong accents, jerky, uneven rhythms, unbalanced liberties and some unconvincing climaxes. Generally, however, this is a fascinating addition to the discography of these masterpieces. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
Maybe Podger is a somewhat overrated performer of Bach's music for solo violin.
Rasmus Oerndrup
The discs, luckily were not scratched, but the case was damaged and I've had to put the discs into other cases in order keep them pristine.
VeganDude
Holloway lets the music unfold with dignity and quiet intensity, never stooping to mannerisms or exaggerated effects.
M. De Sapio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rasmus Oerndrup on March 12, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I have only been listening to nine different recordings of these works, so I am in fact a complete novice in the field (and no musicologist at all), all the same I will try to give short comments on these nine interpretations that just might help you to choose which set you want to buy.

My personal favourite is no doubt John Holloway's recording (on ECM). When I first heard it I had only been listening to Shlomo Mintz (on DG) and Hilary Hahn (on Sony), so I feared the great Ciaccona/Chaconne of BWV 1004, because both of those artists' interpretations of that movement sounded like musical warfare, full of shrieks and noises. But Hallelujah! Guess what happened? The movement made sense to me for the first time - in Holloway's hands it is actually music! And the rest of the set also sparkles in Holloway's recording. What is so special about Holloway's version is that it has an almost spiritual, metaphysical aspect to it that nobody else achieves. It is a recording full of sublime transcendental beauty. That aspect of course is emphasized by the wonderful church acoustics (another great Manfred Eicher production from ECM). The booklet contains a performer's note and a few facsimile pages of Bach's beautiful handwritten score. If you are looking for just one recording, you don't really have to read further - I recommend that you buy Holloway's set.

If you have not bought Holloway's set yet, I have to say a little more about Mintz and Hahn: The aggressive approach in Mintz' Ciaccona/Chaconne is more or less present throughout Mintz' recording and in my opinion his playing does not quite justify it - it is "agitated" without having a reason to be so.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. De Sapio on April 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Only a handful of "period" violinists have ventured to record the complete unaccompanied violin works of Bach, with mixed results; this version from John Holloway (playing on a Guarneri violin) is a resounding success. Holloway (born in 1948) is one of the finest baroque violinists alive. He produces a steady, austere tone of almost supernatural purity, letting every note ring out with a fruity resonance, and produces some of the most ear-ringingly precise Just intonation you will ever hear. Holloway lets the music unfold with dignity and quiet intensity, never stooping to mannerisms or exaggerated effects. This recording is the result of a lifetime's experience, not only with Bach's violin solos, but with baroque music in general. As he explains in his personable liner notes, Holloway views these works from the standpoint of their past (from the music Bach grew up with and was interested in) rather than their "future". Indeed, Holloway's experience with 17th-century music is evident in his Bach playing: it shows in the fast movements in continuous sixteenth notes, where he unfurls the figurations rather like the fantastic divisions in sonatas by Schmelzer and Biber; or in slurred ornamental figuration, which is tossed off into the air (exactly as it should be, pace Edith Eisler).

While I'm at it, a "review of the review" seems in order. First, Eisler is incorrect when she says that Holloway breaks all the chords upwards; in fact, he occasionally breaks them downwards (albeit in a convincing and tasteful way) where the moving voice is on the bottom. Second, far from being "excessively improvisatory", Holloway's preludes have an ornamental freedom inhering within the bounds of a steady pulse - essential for interpreting this type of movement.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Cassidy on October 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I've just started listening to this CD set and love the playing so far but the recording suffers terribly from the decision of too much reverberation. I haven't read the liner notes but I'm really disappointed in this aspect of the recording. It is the result of an over-reverberant venue or digital addition but it has the effect of running the notes together. Way over the top for a solo instrument, and Bach particularly. This aspect of the recording process removes much of the angularity and power and makes the music sound sickly sweet. The other reviewers haven't minded this but I find it very annoying.

Brian Carr has just pointed out to me that this recording was made in a monastery. That explains the reverb - so at least it isn't artificial. Still - audition first. Thank you Brian
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 5, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first thing that stands out about this recording of Bach's solo violin works is the sound - Holloway plays with a period violin in a big church acoustic, producing a very unique sound unlike any other recording I've heard. His tone is buttery smooth and very pleasing to the ear - something that is rather uncommon in these works.

Indeed, it took me some time to distinguish my feelings about John Holloway's artistry from those regarding the sound. In general Holloway employs a thoughtful, flexible approach to Bach and is not afraid to assertively phrase music that can otherwise sound like no more than a dry series of notes at times. In this way he reminds me somewhat of Nathan Milstein, though he doesn't squeeze as much drama from the music as the latter.

Holloway is strongest in the partitas, particularly the first and third. The Chaconne of the second begins in a very understated way but inevitably intensifies and finishes off the second partita nicely. My only real reservations are regarding the fugues of the sonatas, where Holloway's playing can sound gummed up at times. I'm not sure to what degree this is due to his slow tempos or his halting phrasing. To his credit he manages to avoid the all-too-common sword slashing sound in these obviously challenging movements, but some of the grandeur and drama of the fugues is lost along the way.

The only other period instrument recording I am familiar with is Viktoria Mullova's on Onyx, which is considerably more expensive. Also finely recorded (albeit in a more earthly acoustic), Mullova has superior technical command but perhaps takes fewer risks with regards to phrasing. Her playing is characterized by more subtlety than Holloway's. It is a close call, but I tend towards Mullova's sleek and effortless work. On modern instruments my favorites are Grumiaux and Tetzlaff, though there is undoubtedly something special about Milstein's EMI set as well.
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