violinist, recording artist, podcaster & writer

• SEP 2021 - Review - Record Geijutsu

Jiro Hamada
Recommendation The violinist Rachel Kolly has released several albums, mainly of French music. I believe she has previously recorded under the name "Kolly d’Alba". Nothing is written about her age in the album booklet but according to an internet search, Kolly was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1981 and made her debut as a prodigy at the age of twelve. She is a talented woman who not only plays violin but also writes novels. In the album notes, which she wrote herself, Kolly writes that while recording all three Partitas by Bach, she was careful to respect their origins in the rhythm of dance.
Partita No.1 is in B minor; Kolly starts the first “Allemande” playing not legato, but semi-staccato, cutting notes short (this is however only for this movement; the rest is played mainly with normal legato). She limits the use of vibrato and uses it only for special emphasis, thereby recalling the Baroque style, but she is not tied to it, creating her own unique style. In Partita No.2 in D minor, the Chaconne has expressive accents everywhere, a complete departure from the romantic style that appeals to my taste. As Rachel Kolly writes in the liner notes, the three Partitas are pieces with different styles and content, and one of the purposes of this album was to express these differences. It is an excellent recording that I enjoyed.

Kiyoshi Tokiwa
Recording Review All three Partitas are performed with a “classical playing style” (as opposed to Baroque). Supported by a reliable technique, we find a variety of musical expressions, including improvisational grace notes that are scattered everywhere. With a high-pitched tone which is peculiar to an ancient instrument, the violin was recorded at a distance, incorporating the rich reverberation of the venue, a church in Frankfurt. The performance is especially worth listening to for its Chaconne, as expected—the player’s unique tempo and rhythm induces curiosity and draws us deep into the music.

Tsutomu Nasuda
Recommendation Three Partitas by Rachel Kolly from Lausanne, Switzerland.
Kolly is a modern violinist who studied under the famous teachers Ozim and Gitlis, and plays a Stradivarius (built in 1732). The specification of the instrument and the bow are thought to be modern, but as displayed in the Allemande in the 1st Partita, for example, the bowing is short and quite Baroque. It is clearly different from the modern way of playing, where every note sounds homogeneous, with generous volume. Vibrato is limited and arbitrary ornamentations are added. Some people dislike Baroque violin because of the faint tone that is often described as "anaemic" (a terrible expression, indeed), but this performance should be satisfying for those people too, delivered as it is with the power of the famous instrument which produces a bright, glossy, sweet tone. Besides, the tone is very colourful. As with the Courante, the precision in the fine passages in the Double is wonderful. The improvised ornamentations in the Sarabande are one of the highlights.
Partita No. 2, which includes the Chaconne, is also excellent. The Courante and the Gigue express the pleasure of dance music like a little bird jumping around, and vibrato, sound weight, tone and colour are skilfully controlled in the Sarabande. In the Chaconne, the plain tone in the first half gradually takes on movement and heat, creating a moving climax. The prelude of Partita No. 3 attracts listeners again with its stable and skilful performance, and the following movements also express the characteristics of each dance very well. This is an album of charming Bach that mixes Baroque playing style with the elegance and freedom of modern technique.