Partitas No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002; No.3 in E, BWV 1006
Sonata No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003
Ilya Gringolts (violin)
Recorded in November 2002 at Galaxy Studios, Moi, Belgium
CD No: DG 474 235-2 Duration: Reviewed: September 2003
Bach Unaccompanied Ilya Gringolts (DG)
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
These are strikingly individual performances, ones historically aware but not pedantic, ones formal but also demonstrative, both in terms of virtuosity and bringing the music alive. Ilya Gringolts approaches these works in terms of their harmonic and rhythmic construction, the bare bones of music, yet theres a vivid communication, a desire that every note (and grace note) should mean something.
This mix of austerity and personal identification is very telling. The B minor Partita is grand in design. Gringolts emphasises this by big gestures without losing focus on the rhythmic shape of each movement. Maybe some accents are too strong, the dance element too emphatic, yet such is Gringoltss concentration and strength of purpose that one is drawn willingly into his dynamic and intense viewpoint of this unquestionably great music.
Recorded closely, maybe too much so, and with Gringolts favouring little or no vibrato, there is a confrontational, unvarnished quality to these renditions, which I like Gringolts wants us to take note of this music. He doesnt lack for expressive ornamentation though as the Grave opening the A minor Sonata displays. The following fugue is wonderfully clear in its lines. If all this sounds a little academic, it must also be stressed that Gringolts is really living this music, almost making it up on the spot, save that he has thought long and hard about style; maybe clean cut sums it up. But, then, he teases a very affecting Andante third movement that extends ones appreciation of Gringoltss art and Bachs soul.
The delights of the E major Partita, its familiar Preludio encapsulating Gringoltss (generally) rapier-like approach, includes a gavotte en rondeau that could be, has been, more charming what is so persuasive, though, is that Gringolts has its shape and harmonic stress both authentic yet burgeoning with expressive outreach.
If one can have reservations regarding Gringoltss overdone stabbing attack, and on the recordings lack of ambience, there is no denying his verve and stylistic assurance. One assumes that a second, completing CD of this repertoire will appear.