JS BACH Partitas for solo violin Nos 2 & 3 AUERBACH par.ti.ta
A fascinating programme, in which the two more modern works have strong Bachian connections. Ysaÿe’s Second Sonata begins with a direct quotation from Bach’s Third Partita – throughout the first movement little quotations and adaptations appear in counterpoint with the Dies irae chant, which goes on to dominate the rest of the work. Vadim Gluzman plays the outer movements with the virtuoso panache that must have been in the composer’s mind and, by contrast, finds a most alluring con sordino tone for the second movement, ‘Malinconia’.
Gluzman has already proved himself a fine interpreter of Lera Auerbach’s violin music. The present work, written for him in 2007, is in the form of 10 short movements. There are no direct quotations but Bach appears to be present everywhere: sometimes we sense the approach of familiar pieces; elsewhere there’s perhaps just a Bachian atmosphere. Auerbach takes this material to extremes Bach would not have dreamed of, and Gluzman, obviously fully committed, makes the most of the extended range, the dynamic contrasts and the juxtaposition of tentative sounds with the most strenuous gestures.
Gluzman shows himself to be a fine Bach-player, too. Occasionally I longed for the subtle illumination of phrasing, the sort of light and shade that’s much easier to achieve with a Baroque bow, and I found his insistence on the exact notated rhythm in the Loure in the Third Partita somewhat pedantic. But each movement has a sense of life and poise; the Chaconne is especially impressive, with its powerful feeling of a great pageant unfolding.