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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, March 2018

Tetzlaff obviously is not daunted by the technical demands of this music, nor does he seem driven to weigh it down with excess interpretive baggage. There is a nice balancing of intellect and emotion. The movements named after dance genres move gracefully, and the more abstract movements are played thoughtfully but not coldly. His willingness to produce beautiful sounds does not make the music superficial, and these readings are noteworthy for their tonal warmth, particularly in the instrument’s lower registers, where Tetzlaff never sounds husky. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Huntley Dent
Fanfare, January 2018

Tetzlaff has an abundance of ideas, beginning with his notion that for Bach personally, these works constitute “a clear personal journey … first into the darkness with the first four pieces in minor and with the culmination in the Chaconne, which is horrifying in some passages, and then a journey back into acceptance, great joy, and dancing.”

…there are a handful of violinists with big enough personalities to turn the Sonatas and Partitas into a kaleidoscope of color, mood, dramatic contrasts, and technical dazzle. Khachaturyan, Gidon Kremer, and Gil Shaham are the ones that come to mind, and Tetzlaff joins them here. The Fugue in Sonata No. 1 is a wonderful display of how to find musical meaning behind the counterpoint, and the fact that Tetzlaff sounds so effortless clears the way for paying attention to what he wants to express. Also, his idea about the minor-key works being dark or “horrifying” isn’t pressed too far in his playing. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review



Joseph Magil
American Record Guide, January 2018

BACH, J S: SONATAS & PARTITAS FOR SOLO VIOLIN PTC5186682
BACH, J.S.: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001-1006 (Tetzlaff) (2016) ODE1299-2D
BACH: PARTITA 2; CHACONNE REFERENCES MDG9032004

The most interesting set here is by Tetzlaff. He has a very personal response to these works. This is his third recording, so I expected to hear some really deep thinking this time. The impression I get is that his connection with this music has strengthened, and his performances are more intimate and introspective. I found this more satisfying than his 2007 set. Tetzlaff explains some of his own ideas about the music in the booklet notes. He plays a violin made by the modern German maker Stefan Peter Greiner. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, October 2017

Tetzlaff approaches these performances from a softer base dynamic, giving his gorgeous sounding instrument space to develop sonority and allowing climaxes to sing rather than become melodramatic gestures. This air of quiet draws the listener in, maintaining intensity and structural intensity in the music and at no point becoming flaccid or pretentious. …Everything is on a human scale and stated in ways that make you connect with both player and composer.

With so many versions of these works around only you can decide whether this will be an essential purchase, but even after quite some time trawling around my usual library streaming haunts I found that very few indeed match this latest of Christian Tetzlaff’s recordings. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Jed Distler
ClassicsToday.com, October 2017

…Ondine’s warmer sonic ambience appeals to me more than Hänssler’s closer, overly bright pickup. One might argue that certain accents, note elongations, and phrase taperings are less spontaneous, more self-aware than before, such as in the D minor Partita’s Gigue, and the E major Partita’s First Menuet, although the latter now benefits from a brisker lilt. By contrast, Tetzlaff inflects the cruelly exposed duet writing in both the Second Sonata Andante and Third Sonata Adagio to a simpler degree, proving that “less” can be “more”.

…[Tetzlaff’s] newest reading is light and even offhanded, like a seasoned actor throwing away a line or two. © 2017 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, October 2017

German violinist Christian Tetzlaff has now recorded the Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin three times, and performed them many more. In his performances, there’s a very attractive quality of wrestling with these formidable works, which come out slightly differently each time under his bow. …Tetzlaff’s reading is at the opposite extreme to those that find deep numerological symmetries in Bach’s pieces. What you’ll think depends in part on how you hear the music, but note that the technical mastery Tetzlaff has deployed has only grown over time. He can execute the polyphony in these solo works, often enough at high speed, with few compromises between polyphonic lines and breaking for chords, as few others can, and whether or not you’re on board with this rather neo-Romantic Bach, it demands to be heard and taken into account. © 2017 AllMusic.com Read complete review




Alain Steffen
Pizzicato, October 2017

Christian Tetzlaff revisits Bach and he does it with the intelligent and structural music making he is known for, yet his playing seems to have become more spontaneous and musically free, more vivid also. And so this CD, very well recorded too, is a really awesome production. © 2017 Pizzicato



Rob Cowan
Gramophone, October 2017

Christian Tetzlaff has plenty to tell us about Bach’s unaccompanied violin music. Sample almost anywhere in this beautifully played set and you sense a seasoned musical mind with a will of its own. For example, try the first minute or so of the Fugue from the A minor Sonata, the varieties in bowing, articulation, dynamics; the way sequences rise to the fore, with an almost concertolike force of expression. This is truly individual playing. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




The Sunday Times, London, September 2017

Tetzlaff…is one of the most compelling exponents of these classics to date: aware of period practice and technique, yet conscious of the “Romantic” performance tradition of the sonatas and partitas. © 2017 The Sunday Times, London




Erica Jeal
The Guardian, September 2017

This is Christian Tetzlaff’s third recording of Bach’s solo Sonatas and Partitas, the pinnacle of the violin repertoire, but don’t fear that he has run out of things to say. His sleeve note explaining his approach to the cycle is as thoughtful and personal as you would expect from him, and his realisation of it in performance does indeed hang together as a journey from solemnity towards acceptance and joy, with the lengthy Chaconne of the D minor Sonata perhaps representing a very personal bereavement. © 2017 The Guardian Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2017

How you respond to performances of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas is very much one of personal choice, and a whole spectrum of alternatives is now available on disc. The immediate attraction of Christian Tetzlaff’s new recording is to have him placed a little distance from the microphone, where so many recorded performances leave your listening space as if invaded by zealous performers intent on displaying how fast they can play the sonata finales. It is certainly far from easy for the critic to sum up readings of works where the composer left the choice of such basic questions as tempo to the performer. With Tetzlaff that it is even more difficult, for often it seems he was playing just for his own pleasure, and is lost in the beauty of the music the shaping of phrases evolved while the recording was being made. There is equally a freedom of rhythm within the bar-line, and a spontaneity of dynamic shading, while he avoids the hair-shirted approach of the period instrument specialists, his chords spread and never crunched out, while the tonal quality of his violin is very different to the ‘bite’ of gut strings. If that summation would appear to be an adverse indictment of his approach, let me now say that I have enjoyed every moment, and it is one where sheer love and enjoyment abounds. Certainly tempos for the fast sections are very fast, the final Presto of the First Sonata and the Double in the First Partita oozing with sheer virtuosity, his bowing arm in perfect micro-second agreement with his left hand fingers. That may sound a basic requirement, but we hear so many performances where that is not so, and notes have a tendency to fall over themselves. Here they are all crystal clear. So my love affair with Alina Ibragimova’s recording on the Hyperion label continues and it will probably for ever remain my first choice, but I also urge you to hear these outstanding discs. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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