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Jens F. Laurson
Ionarts, August 2015

…a darkly enjoyable 80 minute program with obvious audible links between the Bach, the superbly played Ysaÿe (stunning bagpipe emulation in the Sarabande!), and Missy Mazzoli’s simplistic-lovely-harmless Bach-infused Dissolve, O My Heart. The pivot is Kaija Saariaho’s five-minute breathy-fragile Nocturne. © 2015 Ionarts Read complete review

Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, May 2013

I’ve commented before on Koh’s imaginative programming as well as her marvellous playing, and this CD is more than up to her own high standards.

I really can’t say enough about Koh’s playing or her programming; it’s a perfect marriage of ability and intellect that puts her on a different level than most performers, and this CD is a classic example of that.

The playing throughout is exemplary, with a wonderful purity in the Bach and a clear empathy in the contemporary works. The remaining two volumes of this fascinating project should be well worth waiting for. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review

David Vernier, April 2013

Cedille is one of those record labels that never compromises on sound, of the audiophile quality, and this release from violinist Jennifer Koh is proof, not only of the exciting effect of vibrant, natural, you-are-there sonics, but of the need to listen on a full-sized set of speakers powered by a respectable sound system, enabling you to reap the full rewards of this outstanding recital.

Koh has proved herself not only a virtuoso solo-violinist on a couple of earlier first-rate Cedille recordings, but also as a master programmer, knowing what to choose and how to coherently, cohesively join the repertoire in order to engage rather than obligate listeners. This current recording logically begins and ends with Bach Partitas, but Koh fills the intervening space in such a way that we never are surprised or jolted by the transition from the 18th to 19th to 20th centuries…

…fans of violin music and playing will celebrate this disc, and will certainly look forward to more, more from this very talented Jennifer Koh. She’s terrific. Highly recommended. © 2013 Read complete review

Maria Nockin
Fanfare, March 2013

Koh is a thoughtful, sensitive, and technically accomplished violinist and her project is most interesting. She plays each of the pieces on this disc with knowledge of its style as well as the ability to coordinate and explain this unusual program.

…the Koh project stands on its own merits…and that is a good reason to purchase her CD. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, December 2012

Koh is equally committed to the past and present, and her rich catalog reflects this desire to propagate both in a harmonious and logical manner that makes sense of where music was and where it is now.

Koh is an artist that has performed the Bach violin works in toto in one concert, so you would think that her expertise in this music is something far beyond considerable.

…she is definitely a technical wiz in the music and plays an easy-moving and immaculate performance. The crystalline clarity of Partita 3 is breezy and so fluid…Likewise the famous Chaconne from the D-minor; the ease of the bow and the impossibly even fast runs go by like a seagull caught on a swift updraft.

The Ysaÿe Sonata takes its cue from the Third Partita and the dies irae…he makes it work with deliciously vibrant writing that pays due respect to Bach while extending his virtuosity into very personal areas. The four movements are titled “Obsession”, “Malinconia”, “Dance of the Shades”, and “The Furies”. These two themes play off one another through each movement making for a tour-de-force of scintillating and exotic themes and developments.

The two modern works, Nocturne and Dissolve, O My Heart each take their turns through Bach as well, the latter starting up with the same D-minor chord that opens the Partita No. 2, and the former a more malignant, vibrant chaos that begins with the musings of Partita No. 3. Both are fine works that complement the Bach basics very nicely. Sound is close, resonant, and quite warm. I look forward to the conclusion of this series. © 2012 Audiphile Audition Read complete review

Vivien Schweitzer
The New York Times, December 2012

The Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012

The violinist Jennifer Koh is known as both a masterly Bach interpreter and a champion of contemporary repertory. As part of her “Bach and Beyond” series, she pairs alluring performances of Bach’s Partitas Nos. 2 and 3 with Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 2 and works by Kaija Saariaho and Missy Mazzoli. © 2012 The New York Times

Erin Cano, November 2012

Koh’s tone in the Bach E Major Partita sparkles like sunlight on a lake. Koh weaves a delicate spider’s web of harmonics and translucent tones in Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne. By contrast, she explores the earthy sonority of the violin’s open strings in Missy Mazzoli’s Dissolve, O My Heart. The album closes with a straightforward but masterful performance of J. S. Bach’s Partita No 2. © 2012 Read complete review

Ronni Reich, November 2012

…Jennifer Koh’s new offering shows her distinctive voice over a range of styles.

Koh consistently dives wholeheartedly into her material and plays with decisive articulation and a full, focused tone. She maintains long musical lines and is notably smooth and effortless through the double stops of the Gavotte en Rondeau from Bach’s Partita No. 3.

The mood shifts from bright vigor to dark fury as a melody from that work leads into Eugène Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 2. In its Dies Irae variation, she plays with a soft-edged sound, like a singer using breathy tones for effect. Koh also gives an accomplished performance of Kaija Saariaho’s fitful “Nocturne.” © 2012 Read complete review

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