“Kavakos’ tone has the character of striking high-grade silver sinew, ever beautiful, graceful and unbreakable” – Los Angeles Times
Ever-restless, ever-questioning and consistently captivating, Leonidas Kavakos, “the violinist’s violinist” (The Strad), is recognized as one of the greatest musicians alive. An exclusive Sony Classical artist since 2018, Kavakos now stands ready to release his most significant recording yet – his first account of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. Titled Bach – Sei Solo, the double album is set for release on February 4, 2022 with two singles – Partita for Solo Violin No. 3, Loure and Sonata for Solo Violin No. 1, Adagio – available now.
The recording also includes the famous Chaconne in D minor from the Partita No. 2, considered by many to be Bach’s single greatest span of music. Like many of his coevals, Bach could create great structures in sound, making use of the full panoply of choir, orchestra, and soloists. However, he was unique in his ability to conjure similar architectural marvels out of a single instrument. Bach titled his set Sei Solo – both a description of the work itself (“six solos”) and a reminder of the challenge to the player: “you are alone.”
Leonidas Kavakos tackles that challenge and “keeps a firm grip on the rhythm, but one never gets the feeling that he is merely metronomic. Indeed, in the Double of the Courante, he wrestles the flood of notes into long, well-formed phrases, establishing a structure of impressive breadth and integrity…every line seems sharply etched, and Kavakos takes unusual care to balance the voices,” notes Gramophone.
“Harmony’s rhythm and rhythm’s harmony are decisive assistants towards achieving the divine aspect of existence,” says Kavakos and continues “’Wir danken dir, Gott (We thank you, God)’ is the title of Bach’s Cantata No. 29, the opening Sinfonia of which is a transcription for organ and orchestra of the Preludio from Partita No. 3. It could equally well serve as the title for all six sonatas and partitas, an opus consisting of two triads which, through the peerless swirling of the great Thomas cantor’s compositions, enlighten the individual responsibility of existence (“SeiSolo”), a vital component of collective Spacetime!”
Kavakos’s account of Bach’s scores, which have been interpreted by every major violinist throughout history, will be a major moment in his career. The album was recorded in December 2020 in Berlin, with Kavakos playing his 1734 ‘Willemotte’ Stradivarius.
Kavakos is a laureate of the great violin competitions and a visitor to the great orchestras of the world – as both violinist and conductor. In 2017 he joined the likes of Shostakovich, Rostropovich and Rubinstein as a laureate of the Sonning Music Prize.