Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo
Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo
"A high-powered soloist" -- New York Times
"Something of a phenomenon" -- Strad
"It is difficult to argue with such a technically dazzling and unfailingly musical interpretation." -- Gramophone
"A close-to-symphonic tone, a personal way with a phrase: Such artistry defeats all questions of historical correctness. If an interpretation that plumbs the depths and scales the heights of the famous Chaconne is not authentic, what is?" -- Montreal Gazette
"In her first three recordings she has show a rare mastery of violin technique, which makes her more than just a pretty face... This disc, which contains Bach's three violin concertos, and the first sonata for solo violin, shows that she plays these majestic pieces effortlessly." -- Music Web
Born in London, Ontario, Lara St. John was a child prodigy on the violin at the age of two, and went on her first European tour at the age of ten! At age thirteen she skipped from the eighth grade to a B.A. program at the Curtis Institute of Music. She plays a priceless 1779 Guadagnini violin. Her compelling personality and insightful performances have stimulated interest in classical music in a wide audience that seldom listened to it before. She scandalized some of the old school for appearing scantily clad on a couple of album covers, but she is completely authentic: a great violinist, whatever she is or is not wearing. As one critic wrote, she "has nothing to hide"--her musicality is first class. Lara St. John's brilliant musicianship, striking looks, and vivid personality have made her an authentic classical superstar. Recorded at Skywalker Sound in Super Audio and available in Hybrid.
Bach: The Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo was added to the iTunes library in October 2007 and became the best selling double album of 2007.
1. VIOLIN SONATA IN G MINOR, BWV 1001: I. ADAGIO(3:41)
2. VIOLIN SONATA IN G MINOR, BWV 1001: II. FUGA(5:03)
3. VIOLIN SONATA IN G MINOR, BWV 1001: III. SICILIANA(2:46)
4. VIOLIN SONATA IN G MINOR, BWV 1001: IV. PRESTO(3:41)
5. PARTITA NO. 1 IN B MINOR, BWV 1002: I. ALLEMANDA - DOUBLE(6:56)
6. PARTITA NO. 1 IN B MINOR, BWV 1002: II. CORRENTE - DOUBLE(4:07)
7. PARTITA NO. 1 IN B MINOR, BWV 1002: III. SARABANDE - DOUBLE(3:44)
8. PARTITA NO. 1 IN B MINOR, BWV 1002: IV. TEMPO DI BOREA - DOUBLE(3:40)
9. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 2 IN A MINOR, BWV 1003: I. GRAVE(3:48)
10. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 2 IN A MINOR, BWV 1003: II. FUGA(7:04)
11. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 2 IN A MINOR, BWV 1003: III. ANDANTE(5:47)
12. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 2 IN A MINOR, BWV 1003: IV. ALLEGRO(5:36)
1. PARTITA NO. 2 IN D MINOR, BWV 1004: I. ALLEMANDA(4:58)
2. PARTITA NO. 2 IN D MINOR, BWV 1004: II. CORRENTE(2:12)
3. PARTITA NO. 2 IN D MINOR, BWV 1004: III. SARABANDA(3:46)
4. PARTITA NO. 2 IN D MINOR, BWV 1004: IV. GIGA(3:57)
5. PARTITA NO. 2 IN D MINOR, BWV 1004: V. CIACCONA(15:46)
6. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 3 IN C MAJOR, BWV 1005: I. ADAGIO(4:58)
7. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 3 IN C MAJOR, BWV 1005: II. FUGA(10:35)
8. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 3 IN C MAJOR, BWV 1005: III. LARGO(3:07)
9. VIOLIN SONATA NO. 3 IN C MAJOR, BWV 1005: IV. ALLEGRO ASSAI(4:30)
10. PARTITA NO. 3 IN E MAJOR, BWV 1006: I. PRELUDIO(3:01)
11. PARTITA NO. 3 IN E MAJOR, BWV 1006: II. LOURE(4:12)
12. PARTITA NO. 3 IN E MAJOR, BWV 1006: III. GAVOTTE EN RONDEAU(2:47)
13. PARTITA NO. 3 IN E MAJOR, BWV 1006: IV. MENUET I & II(2:59)
14. PARTITA NO. 3 IN E MAJOR, BWV 1006: V. BOURRÉE(1:22)
15. PARTITA NO. 3 IN E MAJOR, BWV 1006: VI. GIGA(2:06)
"St. John’s Bach: The Six Sonatas & Partitas for Violin Solo is quintessential Bach for the 21st Century on a number of levels."
100 Degrees At Midnight, August 7, 2010
"St John is particularly adept at balancing the interplay of internal parts and preserving continuity of line and rhythmic flow...she conveys the gravitas of Bach’s language with mature assurance...These attributes, combined with her clean, accurate left-hand technique, her keen ear for tonal colouring and the highly individual, largely unforced sound that she produces from her 1779 ‘Salabue’ Guadagnini violin, result in a thought-provoking achievement from a rapidly maturing artist, beautifully recorded in a unique three-dimensional manner."
Originally published in The Strad, April, 2008
"I simply don't know where else you can go to hear Bach played at this level of artistry. Once again she eclipses her competition."
American Record Guide, January and February, 2008
"Lara St. John stands fully clothed by the beach on the cover of her new Ancalagon CD, but the Canadian violinist has become an even more impressively untamed Bach player than when her publicity photos were more provocative. Her account, in excellent SACD sound, of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas is wild, idiosyncratic and gripping."
Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2007
"...a stunning acheivement. The Canadian violinist takes the music at its written word, while imbuing each piece with personal touches that cast new light on familiar ground."
Blogcritics Magazine, October 23, 2007
"...easily the best in the past 20 years. She has lost none of her youthful and daring enthusiasm for the time-worn pieces while gaining a certain gravity that allows her to reveal additional treasures contained in the Master’s scores. St. John’s intonation and approach are flawless."
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, October 21, 2007
"St John owns this work and I have rarely been so convinced of the rightness of an interpretation...Her passionate, complex readings catapult to the top of my list, and I am still discovering things with score in hand after hearing the set four times so far."
Audiophile Audition, October 4, 2007
"And it would probably be good if you knew that you will like this music even if you've never listened to anything so-called 'classical'."
With that, the most recent (and extremely bloggy) Shallot Q&A with Lara St. John.
An Interview with Lara by Adam Baer on the Glass Shallot, September 26, 2007
"...awe-inducing solo playing. There isn't a note or nuance that isn't accounted for."
Toronto Star, Sept 25, 2007
"St. John's Bach has strong personal flair and a sense of dramatic sweep, as though she were an actress playing a role rather than a musician with an instrument; it is variable in tone, broadly expansive rhythmically and dazzling technically. St. John's Bach is also, in a word or two, breathtakingly beautiful."
allmusic.com, Sept 24, 2007
"St. John sounds terrific on these pieces, playing with big colors, intense interpretations, and in several cases, dazzling speed. Her tempos throughout are on the fast side, which I like, and she does memorable things with her performance like opening the D major of the big Chaconne from the Second Partita with a hushed, amost defeated sound, before building up again to the end."
Palm Beach Post, Sept 16, 2007
"Her new recording (Bach: The Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo) is nothing if not intense. And like St. John's choices about marketing and packaging, it's also fresh and new. There's a brilliance and sparkle to her playing, an energy and momentum."
PJStar.com, Sept 9, 2007
"The Montreal High Lights Festival inaugurated its classical programming Thursday with Lara St. John, a violinist once known for her eye-popping cover art and aggressive style. That was the 1990s. The blonde playing Bach in the Bonsecours Chapel was a serious musician, and of the highest order.
A close-to-symphonic tone, a personal way with a phrase: Such artistry defeats all questions of historical correctness. If an interpretation that plumbs the depths and scales the heights of the famous Chaconne is not authentic, what is?
It was interesting to hear St. John project sustained notes without vibrato, not to attenuate the sound but to expand it. The fugue of the Sonata No. 3 was masterful both intellectually and technically. The double of the Courante from the Partita No. 1 was astonishing. What velocity and bravura!
St. John dedicated the Sonata to a friend whose death she learned of only that afternoon. Is this why the recital was so powerfully conceived and expressed? Only about 70 people were present, but they will not soon forget the experience."
(Lara playing J.S. Bach Partita No. 2 in d and Sonata No. 3 in Montreal)