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Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, February 2015

…Kaakinen-Pilch is an incisive performer, preferring to take strong, directional tempi. She is truly elegant in No.1, gliding fluently but not acerbically, fully indulging the off-beat string accompaniment in the central movement of No.3, which vests the music with such vitality, and playing the Chaconne (No.4) very well. She reserves tauter attacks and more biting articulation for such passages as the opening of No.7 but bleaches her tone almost white—with commensurately limited dynamics—in the second of its two movements. It is strikingly done.

The birdlike decorative passages of No.11 are beautifully realised, with each instrument well balanced, the military fanfares of No.12’s central movement being etched with a similarly well characterised and vivid quality. The heightened expressive tension the sonatas generate is not downplayed, either, as one can easily hear in the opening of No.13, and the guitar’s gentle qualities vest No.14 with a beautifully realised dying away quality. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Maxham
Fanfare, November 2014

Kaakinen-Pilch’s playing in the Praeludium of the “Annunciation” explores a wealth of rhetorical effects, both tonal and metric, and the second, with its pedals and variations, takes a similarly protean expressive approach. The recorded sound captures the instruments up close, surrounded with reverberation to tame any harshness; it transmits blessedly little snorting or heavy breathing.

Recommended as one of the best of the complete sets currently available. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Charles Brewer
American Record Guide, November 2014

There is no doubt anywhere in this recording of [Kaakinen-Pilch’s] ability to manage not only the difficulties of the tunings but also Biber’s highly virtuosic passage work and double stops. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Caroline Gill
Gramophone, September 2014

This collection of pieces is unique in the violin repertoire due to its use of scordatura… The effects that result from this practice are alternately painful and beautiful, and the technique of the violinist needs to be perfect in order to do the consequential contrast any justice. If it is not, its technical complexities force any failings of the player to compensate with unsubtle effects; if it is, the virtuosity becomes almost irrelevant and the music dons the sort of veneer of spirituality that it does in Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch’s extraordinary performance.

The most daring scordatura is in ‘Surrexit Christus hodie’, in which the unexpected sound of playing in octaves and tenths is given a particularly powerful effect by Kaakinen-Pilch’s immaculate tuning. She also manages a wondrous balance of the folk music with which Biber would have been most familiar with the graceful, intellectual pieces they more readily are. This combination pays all the necessary dues to a unique set of pieces that is full of symbolism, musical extremism and the meditation on a mystery as complex as the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Stephen Smoliar
Examiner.com, March 2014

This…recording offers performances by the Finnish violinist Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch. The continuo is provided by a group that calls itself Battalia and consists of Annamari Pölhö alternating between harpsichord and portative organ, Eero Palviainen playing theorbo, archlute, and baroque guitar, and Mika Suihkonen on violone. The continuo work is particularly imaginative, even drawing upon percussive effects to underscore some of the more intense aspects of the Mysteries of the Rosary.

…this is a thoroughly engaging and exciting account of the work of one of the most fascinating violin virtuosos of the seventeenth century. © 2014 Examiner.com Read complete review




Robin Stowell
Early Music Today

Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch offers stylish, compelling accounts of these sonatas devoted to the mysteries of the rosary. She demonstrates total technical command and insightful understanding of Biber’s dramatic musical language, which exploits scordatura to especially striking effect. © 2015 Early Music Today Read complete review





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