On this two-disc set of Bach’s Solo Sonatas and Partitas, Tomás Cotik’s deeply analytical playing adds to an exhilarating display of the musical wonders the composer saw in the violin. Cotik allows the main lines of the music, their lyrical qualities and above all the overall arcs of each movement to be fully developed and even prioritised. As a result, several of the complete works seem to end in an anticlimactic sigh which in retrospect feels like a moving gesture of humility. Cotik seems to incorporate the implied harmonies of the music’s solo lines so they appear to flash deep pools of colour without impeding the music. This allows Cotik’s unerring sense of time and speed to produce results that are engrossing without being mechanically hypnotic. Cotik also leaves the music almost completely unembellished, putting his faith in his command of phrasing, the variety he adds with the light, deft strokes of his Baroque bow and, above all, in the notes Bach wrote. His pure sound, perfect intonation and fast tempos mean that Bach’s fiendishly difficult challenges become more exposed, yet he never misses a beat. In Cotik’s hands, the Sarabandes in BWV1002 and 1004 are particularly exquisite. He reveals the delight Bach takes in the intricate little challenges found in the Tempo di borea in BWV1002 and the Allegro assai in BWV1006. His D minor Ciaconna is charming at times, even jaunty. The recording, made at Portland State University, where Cotik is assistant professor of violin, captures the golden glow of his violin, made by Marc de Sterke in 2000, in sound that is honest and clean. Laurence Vittes READ MORE