When it comes to Bach′s Partitas for solo violin, many listeners would probably feel no need to reach any further in their collection other than for classic recordings by Grumiaux, Heifetz or Milstein. And while this recent offering from Tacet probably won′t unshelve any of the masters based on absolute artistic values, it does, nonetheless, offer very compelling performances of the Partitas, all captured in superb SACD transfers. Violinist Florin Paul acquits himself admirably throughout, but the really stunning sound quality here is the real reason to add this disc to you library.
A number of excellent recordings have appeared on the Tacet label, but most of the recent buzz revolving around them has dealt with either their often unusual approach to recording music for surround sound, where individual instruments are assigned to specific channels – or, as in this particular recording, where classic tube microphones are employed in the session. This disc, whose recording session dates from 1989, uses two Neumann U47 tube microphones to spectacular effect – and offers a truly sumptuous string tone, along with an incredibly palpable recreation of the 1689 Stradivari violin employed here. While the Red Book CD layer is quite good, the real revelation is in hearing either the stereo or multichannel SACD layers. Tacet has chosen in the multichannel mix to simply augment the sound with the rear channels to create more of a sense of ambience; while the effect is quite subtle, it does indeed achieve the desired goal of more of a sense of envelopment and preservation of the recorded acoustic. Stereo listeners won′t be disappointed, though – Tacet is one of the handful of companies that seem quite competent at delivering superb ambience and acoustical cues from just a couple of well-placed microphones. Very highly recommended – this disc is such a delight to listen to, that it′s more than generous 75-minute playing time passes all too quickly!

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