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Classical Music Review

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Sei Solo
Bach’s Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Alone


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by: Thomas Bowes (violin)
Label: Navona Records
Release Date: 08 June 2018

Navona Records release Sei Solo: Bach’s Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Alone, performed by Thomas Bowes who shines the spotlight on the sonatas and partitas for solo violin composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1720. Bowes believes that these six stand-alone compositions, while each individually offering insight into Bach's genius reveal more when taken as one epic work - and especially when set against the tragedy in Bach’s life in the year of composition...

The three discs in Thomas Bowes’s album contain a total of six tracks. Each disc starts with a sonata and concludes with a partita, moving through different keys. The sonatas showcase a larger, more abstract expression, while movements in the partitas are more focused on elements of the dance. Bowes views these six compositions as a vehicle for exploration into the existential, taking his cue from Bach’s cryptic title ‘sei solo’, which reads ‘you are alone’, punning on the Italian for ‘6’ and ‘you are’.

It's an interesting and novel release, and you have to take your hat off to Bowes's ingenuity and vision. The album works incredibly well - obviously it helps if you're a fan of Bach and the violin. These six pieces are breathtakingly diverse and you can feel Bowes's raw emotion as he pours everything he has into his performance.

This is a beautifully constructed and masterfully presented release that is pretty much an essential purchase.


Darren Rea

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