J.S. Bach: Six Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Michelle Makarski (violin) and Keith Jarrett (piano)
ECM 2230/31

These sonatas, while not as well known as the solo sonatas, are nevertheless important to the Baroque violin repertoire, and Makarski plays them with an even beautiful tone. However, this is not a CD for violinists, or for lovers of Bach.

The two-page photo spread in the booklet says it all: Keith Jarrett in the centre, standing at the keyboard but not playing, brightly spot lit and surrounded by recording equipment. The violinist stands far behind him in a dark corner, playing but clearly peripheral. Jarrett has created keyboard music based on Bach’s continuo parts but with much more in common with his solo keyboard writing: intricate figuration and counterpoint, imitative at time, with a very busy right hand. This overshadows the principal instrument most of the time, especially in slow movements, where there is no room for embellishment or ornamentation by the violinist.

This CD is definitely for fans of Keith Jarrett, not Bach or the violin.

Trish Shaw