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Bach: Sonatas For Violin & Harpsichord Vols 1 & 2 / Ehnes, Beauséjour


Release Date: 09/16/2008 
Label:  Analekta   Catalog #: 220167   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James EhnesLuc Beauséjour
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DISC 1


The intelligence, sensitivity, and innate musicality distinguishing violinist James Ehnes' terrific unaccompanied Bach carries over to his first volume of the composer's sonatas with harpsichord. What immediately strikes you is the ideal balance between Ehnes and harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour--not just sonically speaking, but in how they effortlessly proportion their phrases and perfectly synchronize trills, turns, and other ornaments. Beauséjour's discreet and effective registrations complement the subtle variations in Ehnes' tone, especially in slower, sustained writing (the quicker-than-usual A major sonata's Andante is a good example). Also notice how Ehnes
Read more manages to project a full, rounded, and beautiful tone even when he employs vibrato sparingly. In other words, Ehnes achieves an organic synthesis of period-instrument practice with the virtues of modern violin technique, all to the music's expressive, dance-oriented good. Among numerous world-class Bach violin sonata recordings of disparate stylistic stripes, Ehnes and Beauséjour deserve room at the top. May their second volume prove equally nourishing. [2/14/2005]

--Jed Distler, Classics

DISC 2


Praising these performers' first volume of Bach's violin and harpsichord sonatas, I observed their highly attuned sensitivity and attention to detail on every level, and how violinist James Ehnes brilliantly achieved an organic synthesis of period-instrument conventions with the virtues of modern violin technique. I also spoke of harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour's effective and supportive registrations. All of these positive qualities were enhanced by Analekta's drop-dead gorgeous engineering. These words hold true for Volume 2, whose release completes a cycle that now takes its rightful place as a version of reference.

The performances abound with beauty, intelligence, and expressivity. Take, for example, the F minor sonata's Adagio. The violin part mainly consists of slow-moving chords, surrounded by faster-moving harpsichord lines that alternate between hands. Many violinists pay no attention to the chords' underlying melody, yet Ehnes not only brings it out but also makes it come alive in a vibrant dialogue with the harpsichord. Because the musicians resist the temptation to push Sonata No. 6's opening Allegro into overdrive, the music's inherent swing gains welcome breathing room on the proverbial dance floor. The Largo of the G major sonata with continuo particularly exemplifies Ehnes' ravishing (but never cloying) tone and his ability to control it with equal aplomb in all registers. I should not let cellist Benoît Loiselle's strong presence in the continuo sonatas go unnoticed, nor Guy Marchand's scholarly and succinct annotations. This cycle, along with the Sonatas and Partitas, ensures James Ehnes' standing as one of the great Bach violinists of our time, or any time for that matter. [4/27/2006]

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 1 in B minor, BWV 1014 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 51 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 2 in A major, BWV 1015 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 35 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 3 in E major, BWV 1016 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 4 in C minor, BWV 1017 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 14 Minutes 54 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 5 in F minor, BWV 1018 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6.
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 6 in G major, BWV 1019 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 31 Minutes 1 Secs. 
7.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G major, BWV 1021 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord), James Ehnes (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in E minor, BWV 1023 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  James Ehnes (Violin), Luc Beauséjour (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Weimar, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Weimar, Germany (1714 - 1717). 

Featured Sound Samples

Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 1: II. Allegro
Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord no 3: I. Adagio

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