Label: Tacet – L10 – 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl – 4009850001010
AAA 100% Analogue – Limited Edition
Audiophile Mastering – Pressed at Pallas Germany
One of the earliest recordings from TACET program that at the time became world famous, especially in Japan, for its full violin sound, is now being issued on a 180g LP. Florin Paul plays solo sonatas by J.S. Bach, also in an old church in France, incidentally, buch somewhere else entirely – namely in Nice and about 20 years earlier.
Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (three of each) are one of the true monuments in the classical repertoire. Part exercise, part exploration, they were started in 1703, completed in 1720, but not published until 1802. Even then, they were largely ignored until they were taken up and championed by Joseph Joachim in the latter part of that century. Yet, despite this slow start, they have come to be recognized as one of the prototypical stages in classical development, a key test of any violinist’s technique. It’s a status that means we’re not exactly short of recordings, with most of the great violinists having a stab. You can take your pick from Perlman, Podger, Grumiaux, Szeryng, Milstein and any number of PYT wannabes. In the used-record bins, you could look out for Shumsky, while Testament offered the full set on three LPs from Ida Haendel — although this is sadly now only available on CD.
With so many options out there, you might well wonder why we need another — especially one that dates from 23 years ago. The answer lies in the approach taken to the recording, the justification in the nature of the recorded work. Tacet produce their recordings, even today, from an all-tube recording chain, from microphone through to analog tape recorder. This particular recording was made using a pair of vintage Neumann U47 mikes, capturing the virtuoso Florin Paul at the start of his distinguished career. Small-scale works lend themselves to such minimalist miking techniques and you don’t get much smaller in scale than a solo violin. But it is the combination of such a nimble musical voice with a composition of such resonance and massive emotional range that creates the enduring fascination in these pieces. The six works that constitute the whole encompass so much similarity yet differ so markedly that the scope for individual interpretation is almost unlimited. The beauty of Bach’s masterpiece lies in the solid structure, the security of a final destination, combined with the sheer flexibility that affords the individual traveler.
This disc contains just two of the partitas, Nos. 2 and 3, but you could argue that they’re the best of a stellar grouping. Florin Paul is captured in a church acoustic, playing an early Stradivarius with youthful gusto and musical abandon. Even by the standards of sonatas and partitas recordings, this is an intensely personal and individual reading. Add to that the immediacy and vibrancy of the recording, cut at an unusually high level, and you have a dramatic and vivid sonic presentation that places the instrument right in front of you, enclosed in its own acoustic. Shut your eyes and you are there.
Recorded 1989 in Falicon, Nice, France by Andreas Spreer.