There’s more Baroque violin music from an exact contemporary of Bach on Telemann 12 Fantasias for Violin Solo in supremely satisfying performances by Tomás Cotik (Centaur CRC 3949 tomascotik.com).
In previous reviews I’ve noted that the Fantasias, written some 15 years after Bach’s Sonatas & Partitas at first appear less chal- lenging than the Bach. They seem so much
easier on the page, shorter and with simpler lines and less multiple- stopping, but they’re fraught with technical pitfalls – angular,awkward intervals, tricky string-crossing – and they play much faster than they look.
Still, nothing challenges Cotik, who uses a Baroque bow to lovely effect in the slow sections and to simply dance through the Allegro, Presto and Vivace movements. There are 44 sections in all, some only a few bars long, but all are inventive, varied and charming. The booklet essay says that “every note of these often complex pieces lies perfectly, if not easily, [my italics] under the bow.”
Well, yes – if you’re as superb a player as Tomás Cotik.