Following on from her superb 2008 recording of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin, harpsichordist Winsome Evans also follows in the footsteps of Bach and his contemporaries by devising “keyboard transcriptions of all these solo works emulating Bach’s stylistic textural idioms, compositional procedures and performance practices.”
Evans’ copious liner notes demonstrate an extraordinary erudition, an absolute fidelity to Bach’s musical language and an uncompromising attitude towards surmounting every difficulty. She has availed herself of as many 18th-century compositional and performing techniques as she thought necessary to produce a convincing, historically informed realisation of these masterworks, including frequent sharing of melodies “across and between the hands”, composing new bass lines and countermelodies, filling out harmonies and, of course, extensive ornamentation, more often written-out rather than extemporised.
And the performances? They are sublime: intimate and urgently expressive, with tasteful use of rubato and colour changes, in the slower movements such as the allemandes and sarabandes; joyful and exuberant in the faster dances such as the courantes and gigues.
Together with the performing scores, both sets of recordings comprise a major contribution not just to contemporary Bach scholarship and performance, but to the enjoyment of lovers of Bach’s music everywhere.