I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

John Holloway on the Sonatas and Partitas

It was ambitious of ECM to release both John Holloway and Gideon Kramer recording Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin within months of one another. Kramer's recording ended up being a favorite of mine. Sheer power, but in an emotionally appropriate way. Holloway plays in far more airy acoustic than Kramer, and you have to be careful about how you record solo violin. I always felt Huggett's recording on Virgin was too close. And Holloway's? Likely too distant. Kramer's is about right. Despite what it does the recording, I imagine Holloway had some fun with the acoustic when playing, It amplifies his violin's sound, and it makes the space between notes ever so connected, no matter his articulation. Intonation is true. I don't particularly like the sound of Holloway's violin. Not because it's bad sounding, it just takes some time to enter his sound world. The upper register can be slightly strident, the bottom lean, but he has full control of the instrument. My only gripe with the interpretation, then, is with the famous Chaconne. It starts out far too academic for me. I'd rather have a little more of Holloway in the reading. Holloway's reading isn't likely the one you have to have, if you were on a desert island. I think Gideon Kramer's rendition on ECM beats this one out for both the sound quality of the violin and also for interpretation and also for recorded sound. But Kramer's a modern violinist; Holloway follows baroque performance practice. What it does offer is a very gifted violinist's read of Bach's (and the world's) violin masterpieces. It's worthy to have. It may most closely take me to the sound world of what it might have sounded like to hear Bach himself playing these works in the space of St. Thomas's on a late night evening when the building was empty. It may lack the polish of the world's finest rendition, but it excels in being honest, reverbrent, and in some cases, truer to the text than what we're used to.

Holloway - Jean Marie Leclair

Italian Flute Concertos