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Isabelle Faust|Solo: Matteis - Pisendel - Biber - Guillemain - Vilsmayr

Solo: Matteis - Pisendel - Biber - Guillemain - Vilsmayr

Isabelle Faust

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Violinist Isabelle Faust has gradually become a star whose listeners will follow her even into unfamiliar repertory, and this release made classical best-seller lists in the autumn of 2023. Part of the appeal of Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin is that they seem sui generis; they are towering pieces that resemble nothing else and have no models. A number of composers also wrote works for solo violin, and Bach was likely inspired by some and inspired others in turn. These other works are occasionally programmed, together with Bach's works or by themselves, but they are not common for the most part. Faust offers a generous sampling, with no Bach and with a variety of largely unfamiliar composers. What emerges is that there were multiple traditions at work, French as well as German, and Bach, as was his way, synthesized them. It won't do to pretend that any of these works are on Bach's level, but they are attractive, and Faust is excellent at teasing out their idiomatic writing for a Baroque violin. Consider the Partita No. 5 in G minor for solo violin of Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, a student of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (who is also represented by a single Passacaglia at the end). This is a dance suite that seems to reflect Bach's influence as well. Physical album buyers will get a helpful booklet (although it doesn't explain the bizarre "Guiqß" movement title in the Vilsmayr work). Other composers included are Johann Georg Pisendel, Nicola Matteis Jr. and Sr., and Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, who worked in the middle 18th century; his Amusement pour le violon seul, Op. 18, inhabits a nonserious world completely different from Bach's but does show that the idea of a solo violin work was widely present. Faust benefits from Harmonia Mundi's Teldex Studio sound, which is close up without being noisy. Baroque buffs will definitely hear music here that they haven't heard before, well played.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Solo: Matteis - Pisendel - Biber - Guillemain - Vilsmayr

Isabelle Faust

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1
Fantasia for Solo Violin in A Minor "Alia Fantasia"
00:03:34

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Nicola Matteis Jr., Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

Ayres for the Violin (Nicola Matteis Sr.)

2
Preludio
00:00:56

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Nicola Matteis Sr., Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

3
Passaggio rotto - Andamento veloce
00:02:22

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Nicola Matteis Sr., Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

4
Fantasia
00:01:34

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Nicola Matteis Sr., Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

Sonata for Solo Violin in A Minor (Johann Georg Pisendel)

5
I. [Prelude]
00:02:53

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Georg Pisendel, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

6
II. Allegro
00:04:58

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Georg Pisendel, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

7
III. Giga
00:03:47

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Georg Pisendel, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

8
IV. Variations
00:04:56

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Georg Pisendel, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

Amusement pour le violon seul, Op. 18 (Louis-Gabriel Guillemain)

9
Allegro
00:01:58

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

10
Allegretto
00:01:02

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

11
Andantino
00:01:31

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

12
Allegro - Majestoso
00:01:16

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

13
Aria - Gratioso
00:01:42

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

14
Variatione
00:02:01

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

15
Altro
00:01:40

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

16
[Altro]
00:01:36

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

Partita for Solo Violin No. 5 in G Minor (Johann Joseph Vilsmayr)

17
I. Prelude
00:01:04

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

18
II. Gavotte
00:01:12

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

19
III. Saraband
00:02:19

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

20
IV. Rigodon
00:01:12

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

21
V. Guiqß
00:00:37

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

22
VI. Menuett
00:01:09

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

23
VII. Boure
00:00:53

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

24
VIII. Retirada
00:01:26

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

25
Rosary Sonatas: XVI. Passacaglia for Solo Violin in G Minor "The Guardian Angel"
00:06:37

Isabelle Faust, Violin, MainArtist - Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber , Composer

2023 harmonia mundi 2023 harmonia mundi

Album review

Violinist Isabelle Faust has gradually become a star whose listeners will follow her even into unfamiliar repertory, and this release made classical best-seller lists in the autumn of 2023. Part of the appeal of Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin is that they seem sui generis; they are towering pieces that resemble nothing else and have no models. A number of composers also wrote works for solo violin, and Bach was likely inspired by some and inspired others in turn. These other works are occasionally programmed, together with Bach's works or by themselves, but they are not common for the most part. Faust offers a generous sampling, with no Bach and with a variety of largely unfamiliar composers. What emerges is that there were multiple traditions at work, French as well as German, and Bach, as was his way, synthesized them. It won't do to pretend that any of these works are on Bach's level, but they are attractive, and Faust is excellent at teasing out their idiomatic writing for a Baroque violin. Consider the Partita No. 5 in G minor for solo violin of Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, a student of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (who is also represented by a single Passacaglia at the end). This is a dance suite that seems to reflect Bach's influence as well. Physical album buyers will get a helpful booklet (although it doesn't explain the bizarre "Guiqß" movement title in the Vilsmayr work). Other composers included are Johann Georg Pisendel, Nicola Matteis Jr. and Sr., and Louis-Gabriel Guillemain, who worked in the middle 18th century; his Amusement pour le violon seul, Op. 18, inhabits a nonserious world completely different from Bach's but does show that the idea of a solo violin work was widely present. Faust benefits from Harmonia Mundi's Teldex Studio sound, which is close up without being noisy. Baroque buffs will definitely hear music here that they haven't heard before, well played.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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