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Guardian Angel - Biber, Bach, Tartini & Pisendel / Rachel Podger

Bach / Matteis / Tartini / Pisendel / Podger
Release Date: 11/12/2013 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 35513   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Nicola MatteisGiuseppe TartiniJohann Georg PisendelHeinrich Ignaz Biber,   ... 
Performer:  Rachel Podger
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



GUARDIAN ANGEL Rachel Podger (vn) CHANNEL 35513 (SACD: 78:30)


BACH (arr. Podger) Flute Partita, BWV 1013. MATTEIS AYRES Passagio rotto. Fantasia. Movimento incognito. TARTINI Solo Violin Sonatas: in a, B:a3; No. 13 in b, Read more class="ARIAL12"> B:h1. PISENDEL Solo Violin Sonata. BIBER Passacaglia


Rachel Podger, in her personal note in Channel Classics’ booklet, tells how her admiration for Bach’s Partita for Flute, BWV 1013, prompted her to play it on the violin, transcribing it into G Minor (although listeners to her performance will hear it a half-step lower, due to her adoption of an A at about 415 kHz). The first movement ends on a G at the top of the violin’s sixth position, a range not explored by Bach in his Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas. Otherwise, the passagework, especially in the second movement Corrente, sounds as though it might have been written for the violin (including the kind of contrapuntal suggestions that Bach customarily wove into the single lines of his works for solo violin, suggestions described by psycho-acousticians in this context and analogous ones as “stream segregation”). In fact, violinists might want to follow Podger’s lead and adopt this work for their instrument, despite its lack of double-stops (particularly noticeable, perhaps, in the slow movement, which Podger’s musical intelligence nevertheless manages to keep afloat). The variety of her articulation provides continuing interest throughout her tangy reading of the Finale.


Podger also remarks on her investigations, with ensemble, of Nicola Matteis’s Ayres ; and her performance of three of them here endows their impressive structural integrity with plentiful nuance, as she explores well beyond the palette of primary colors. Giuseppe Tartini provided bass lines for some of his Piccole Sonate , but they’re usually played unaccompanied. Podger includes two of these in the program: the Sonata in A Minor, B:a3 and the 13th Sonata, in B Minor, B:h1. The A-Minor Sonata opens with a Cantabile sprinkled liberally with double-stops (akin to those that Fritz Kreisler stripped from the first movement of Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill”). In the first Allegro , Podger demonstrates that Tartini’s mixture of staccato double-stops and rapid trills creates enough interest almost in itself to allow performers to dispense with even a simple continuo (although occasional double stops sound more abrasive than they might had they been undergirded by a fundamental resonating from the basement). She plays the Giga with infectious briskness and characterizes the variations of the last movement (almost twice as long as the first four movements taken together) as richly as they deserve. (They’re not the sort of variations that primarily develop technical patterns, such as the ones that Tartini provided, as a treatise on bowing, for Arcangelo Corelli’s celebrated Gavotte.) The B-Minor Sonata comprises only three movements, the first of them sounding in Podger’s reading as darkly and richly expressive as a drink of rum on a desert isle. The second brings the usual starchy double stops; and the third, a Giga marked Allegro affetuoso , combines the bright dancing double-stops with thicker residues from the opening movement.


Podger attempts, tentatively at least, to trace a connection between Johann Georg Pisendel’s Solo Violin Sonata with Bach’s works for the same instrumentation. But Bach’s writing for the violin seems much more crabbed, although Pisendel’s Sonata hardly sounds lightweight compared to Bach’s works. Podger describes the first movement of Pisendel’s work as improvisatory; a similar epithet might apply to the Adagio of Bach’s Sonata in G Minor. But if Podger’s reading of that movement gives Pisendel’s work added weight, so does her version of the Allegro that follows. The Giga may sound more fleet, and, perhaps less earthbound—even if less inspired—perhaps due to Podger’s enthusiastic advocacy, than any of Bach’s, at least in the Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas. The program concludes with the work for which it is named, Heinrich Biber’s “Guardian Angel” Passacaglia. Podger dispatches this in a brisk 8:33, still managing to clarify its voice leading and to draw forth a great deal of its expressive potential, shifting from mood to mood (playful to solemn, for example) as she leads it to the culminating statement of the four-note pattern upon which it’s built.


The recorded sound is generally reverberant; and as close as the engineers came to Podger, they didn’t pick up, or transmit, snuffling and snorting. As a whole, her recital deserves, in particular for its expressive reading of Tartini’s B-Minor work, but also for its variety as well as its depth, to be recommended to all kinds of audiences, especially, perhaps, to those who enjoy exploring this repertoire.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Fantasia for solo violin in B flat major (from Ayrs for the Violin) by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
2.
Movimento incognito, for violin & basso continuo (from Ayrs, Book 2) by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Violin in A minor, B a3 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1760; Italy 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 20 Minutes 29 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for violin in B minor, B. h1 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1750 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 9 Minutes 41 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for violin solo by Johann Georg Pisendel
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6.
Passacaglia (Mystery Sonata), for violin solo in G minor, C. 105 by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 8 Minutes 52 Secs. 
7.
Passagio rotto, for violin & continuo (from Ayrs, Book 2) by Nicola Matteis
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
8.
Partita for Flute solo in A minor, BWV 1013 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Rachel Podger (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1720s; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/2013 
Venue:  Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem 
Length: 15 Minutes 14 Secs. 

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