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Laurie Niles


October 2, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Here are three versions of J.S. Bach's "Sarabande" from the D minor partita, for your enjoyment this Tuesday:

Julia Fischer, 2008:

Hilary Hahn, 2010

Anne-Sophie Mutter, 2010

From kenneth wong
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 4:13 AM
i would go with Hanh's
From H. Liu
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 7:25 AM
Hahn, no contest
From sharelle taylor
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 9:18 AM
Ditto. the others are good, but I love the sustain and pace of HH.
From Paul Deck
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Everyone likes Hahn's playing, she's supposed to be the Bach specialist, but I'm voting against the grain. Nothing wrong with her playing, very nice, but I absolutely love Mutter's version of this piece. I've watched this video in the past many times, especially as I was working on the Sarabande myself during the past year. Just a couple of specifics: I prefer her sensuous and interestingly varied vibrato to Hahn's more constant "nervous" sounding vibrato and I think she uses a broader range of tone. To my ear Mutter's playing is more artistic, Hahn's is more academic. I hear in Hahn's playing the respect she has for Bach; with Mutter I hear the love. And thanks for giving us our money's worth by taking the second repeat.
From Arnie Cohen
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM
all are excellent of course. Not sure if its the hall vs room acoustics, but Mutter seems a litte less dynamics than hahn, and her playing is a bit more forceful, and deliberate. It just doesnt seem to flow as well. Hahns playing looks and sounds more natural and effortless.

Its a bit hard to describe. And I am certainly not a qualified judge, by any means. just my opinion.....

From Laurie Niles
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 4:48 PM
I love that each artist can do something a bit different -- and what a beautiful art dance is this piece.
From Paul Deck
Posted on October 3, 2012 at 5:51 PM
Yeah, I wonder how Hahn would play it in a concert hall. I think Mutter's version was played as an encore.
From Delia Frank
Posted on October 4, 2012 at 4:58 AM
This isn't Hahn's strongest rendition. I've heard her play it better live.

However judging solely by these 3 videos, I'd still go with Hahn's :)

From Simon Streuff
Posted on October 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Mutters Sarabanda actually sounds very nice. But there is a recording of Kavakos, wich is heavenly. Also he plays it sometimes as encore. Very interesting ornamentation in the repeats and as usually nice phrasing, sound and amazing articulation.
After the Beethoven Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic (with is the most exciting live performance of this concerto I know) He played it. unfortunately its not availible for free..

BTW: it's sarabandAAAAAAA its important, because its no frensh sarabande like in the cello suites...

here is a recording of kavakos sarabanda:

From Paul Deck
Posted on October 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM
I've always been confused why it is written "Sarabanda". To me this is just English transliteration of Sarabande, which would have a pronounced "e" (eh) in the German language. The word "sarabanda" seems very non-German to me.

I agree Kavakos's recording is fantastic, thanks for the link.

Nobody's commented on Fischer's recording. I didn't find anything special about it, but it's still a nice recording of a great piece. One thing she does differently is she rolls her chords more slowly, spending more time on the lower notes. It's a bit unorthodox.

From Bill Palmer
Posted on October 4, 2012 at 5:35 PM
If you look at the original manuscript on IMSLP, you'll see that Bach wrote "Sarabanda" over this movement. It isn't supposed to be a good German word; Bach wrote Italian titles over all of the movements in the D minor partita.
From Andrew Sords
Posted on October 4, 2012 at 8:07 PM
Laurie -

Did you put these clips up for enjoyment or comparison? :)

Julia's is classy, elegant, and organic. To my ears, the most successful of the three.

From Clif Fiske
Posted on October 4, 2012 at 8:51 PM
All three left me wanting more. Lovely ladies playing sensuous music on the fiddle. My wife has agreed to let me run off with any one of the three(especially HH) if they'll take me. I know chances are long, but there is always YouTube. Thank you mrs Niles. Hello to Raphael, trust you are well.

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