- Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001
- Partita for solo violin No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
- Sonata for solo violin No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003
- Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
- Sonata for solo violin No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005
- Partita for solo violin No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006
With an almost endless array of choices for recordings of Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin, listeners need to ask themselves some questions to help narrow the field. The first is whether a period-practice performance given on Baroque violin is preferred over a more modern interpretation performed on an instrument set up with modern strings and sound projection. If the former is what you seek, then you've come to the wrong album. If, however, a strong, meaty performance of these monumental compositions is appealing, read on. Ilya Kaler -- the only violinist to date to have won gold medals in the Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Paganini Competitions -- offers listeners performances filled with energy and immense sound. His approach to Bach is by no means timid -- much like Nathan Milstein -- but is never too aggressive or harsh. His intonation, phrasing, and contrapuntal voicing are all spotless. The only potential downside to this recording comes from the recording venue itself. Performed in St. John Chrysostom Church in Newmarket, Canada, the overall sound quality of this set is perhaps what one would expect from a recording made in a church: reverberant. While a little reverb isn't necessarily a bad thing, in this case it actually gets in the way of clean articulation. So much so, in fact, that it seems Kaler must take some of his tempos slower than expected to accommodate the slow decay of the sound.