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Augustin Hadelich|Bach: Sonatas & Partitas

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas

Augustin Hadelich

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Lovingly long, smooth and slowly drawn, the quietly subdued broken G minor chord with which Augustin Hadelich opens his Bach Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas is of a showstopping beauty and distinctiveness that's rarely heard so immediately and unmistakably in recordings of this Everest of the violin repertoire. It would be an understatement to say that it sets expectations high, and equally it's an understatement to proclaim that, as Hadelich proceeds through the set, he follows though on all that initial promise.

A project instigated by the March 2020 lockdown when concert life came to a standstill, this studio recording was made with Hadelich playing on his usual modern set-up – on his newly acquired 1744 Guarneri del Gesù once played by Henryk Szeryng – but unusually for him on a Baroque bow, with its greater capacity for lightness and buoyancy. A further melding of past and present is his decision to use sparing vibrato, when a Baroque performance purist wouldn't. Likewise, while a Baroque violinist may add any number of additional embellishments of their own, Hadelich has largely kept to the ones Bach himself wrote in. So if you're looking for a nutshell description for what Hadelich's presenting here, in terms of tools and playing style it's a sort of hybrid between Baroque and modern performance. Likewise his tempi: back to the G major sonata's opening Adagio, and while on the one hand its light, “piano” grace places it Baroque performance territory, it's at least a minute slower than the period readings of Isabelle Faust, Rachel Podger or Giuliano Carmignola, and instead in the same ball park as “modern” readings from the likes of James Ehnes, Izhak Perlman or Hilary Hahn; although it doesn't always fall that way, because at other points it's the period performance tempi he's closest to, such as with the opening Adagio of Sonata No. 3 in C major, and the D minor Partita's famous Chaconne.

The Chaconne reading, by the way, is a very fine one, its pleasures including the strong rhythmic momentum as it moves towards its conclusion 9'30” (and indeed all three of the partitas are satisfyingly rhythmically redolent of their dance roots), and colouristic treats such as a sudden flash of turbulent choppiness to the articulation at 11'05”. Another highlight is Partita No. 3, where the brighter, louder ring afforded by metal strings reaps especial dividends – listen to the Gavotte en Rondeau to hear what I mean.

That's a lot of talk about technical and colouristic devices and performance decisions. However, to circle back to that very first G minor chord, the quality that ultimately makes this set such a magical end-to-end listen is its multiple emotional worlds. From bleak despair, to gentle wit or merry exuberance, Hadelich's readings have palpably presented us with the human soul; which, whether you're into period performance, or reclaiming Baroque repertoire for modern instruments, is ultimately what this special music is all about. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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Bach: Sonatas & Partitas

Augustin Hadelich

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1
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: I. Adagio
00:04:45

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: II. Fuga
00:04:33

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

3
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: III. Siciliana
00:03:24

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001: IV. Presto
00:03:05

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: I. Allemanda
00:05:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited

6
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: II. Double
00:02:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

7
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: III. Courante
00:02:40

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

8
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: IV. Double
00:03:05

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

9
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: V. Sarabande
00:03:42

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

10
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: VI. Double
00:02:04

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

11
Violin Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: VII. Tempo di Bourrée
00:02:48

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

12
Violin Partita No.1 in B Minor, BWV 1002: VIII. Double
00:03:08

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

13
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: I. Grave
00:04:42

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

14
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: II. Fuga
00:06:23

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

15
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: III. Andante
00:05:31

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

16
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003: IV. Allegro
00:05:33

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

17
Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: I. Allemande
00:03:57

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

18
Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: II. Courante
00:02:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

19
Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: III. Sarabande
00:04:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

20
Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: IV. Gigue
00:03:42

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

21
Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: V. Chaconne
00:14:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

22
Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005: I. Adagio
00:04:18

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

23
Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005: II. Fuga
00:08:22

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

24
Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005: III. Largo
00:04:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

25
Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005: IV. Allegro assai
00:04:39

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

26
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: I. Preludio
00:03:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

27
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: II. Loure
00:04:38

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

28
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: III. Gavotte en Rondeau
00:03:05

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

29
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: IV. Menuett I
00:01:35

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

30
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: V. Menuett II
00:02:15

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

31
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: VI. Bourrée
00:01:15

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

32
Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: VII. Gigue
00:01:41

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Augustin Hadelich, Violin, MainArtist

© 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2021 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

Album review

Lovingly long, smooth and slowly drawn, the quietly subdued broken G minor chord with which Augustin Hadelich opens his Bach Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas is of a showstopping beauty and distinctiveness that's rarely heard so immediately and unmistakably in recordings of this Everest of the violin repertoire. It would be an understatement to say that it sets expectations high, and equally it's an understatement to proclaim that, as Hadelich proceeds through the set, he follows though on all that initial promise.

A project instigated by the March 2020 lockdown when concert life came to a standstill, this studio recording was made with Hadelich playing on his usual modern set-up – on his newly acquired 1744 Guarneri del Gesù once played by Henryk Szeryng – but unusually for him on a Baroque bow, with its greater capacity for lightness and buoyancy. A further melding of past and present is his decision to use sparing vibrato, when a Baroque performance purist wouldn't. Likewise, while a Baroque violinist may add any number of additional embellishments of their own, Hadelich has largely kept to the ones Bach himself wrote in. So if you're looking for a nutshell description for what Hadelich's presenting here, in terms of tools and playing style it's a sort of hybrid between Baroque and modern performance. Likewise his tempi: back to the G major sonata's opening Adagio, and while on the one hand its light, “piano” grace places it Baroque performance territory, it's at least a minute slower than the period readings of Isabelle Faust, Rachel Podger or Giuliano Carmignola, and instead in the same ball park as “modern” readings from the likes of James Ehnes, Izhak Perlman or Hilary Hahn; although it doesn't always fall that way, because at other points it's the period performance tempi he's closest to, such as with the opening Adagio of Sonata No. 3 in C major, and the D minor Partita's famous Chaconne.

The Chaconne reading, by the way, is a very fine one, its pleasures including the strong rhythmic momentum as it moves towards its conclusion 9'30” (and indeed all three of the partitas are satisfyingly rhythmically redolent of their dance roots), and colouristic treats such as a sudden flash of turbulent choppiness to the articulation at 11'05”. Another highlight is Partita No. 3, where the brighter, louder ring afforded by metal strings reaps especial dividends – listen to the Gavotte en Rondeau to hear what I mean.

That's a lot of talk about technical and colouristic devices and performance decisions. However, to circle back to that very first G minor chord, the quality that ultimately makes this set such a magical end-to-end listen is its multiple emotional worlds. From bleak despair, to gentle wit or merry exuberance, Hadelich's readings have palpably presented us with the human soul; which, whether you're into period performance, or reclaiming Baroque repertoire for modern instruments, is ultimately what this special music is all about. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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