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Elizabeth Wallfisch has recorded many critically acclaimed CDs for Hyperion, both as a chamber musician and as a soloist. As with her previous disc on Hyperion of unaccompanied music (Bach Sonatas and Partitas, CDD22009) this disc gives the listener the opportunity to appreciate every nuance, every flourish, every virtuosic display, every inflection of tone and colour that Ms Wallfisch exudes so exquisitely and effortlessly from her instrument.
Biber's 'Mystery' or 'Rosary' sonatas were written using the then-popular scordatura technique of mis-tuning the violin to emphasise the resonance of a particular key, and the Passacaglia is the only movement from the set that uses normal tuning. Westhoff's collection of six suites was published in Dresden in 1697. Possibly the first collection devoted entirely to music for unaccompanied violin, it has often been thought of as the model for Bach's solo violin music. The works by Schmelzer and Matteis were originally scored for multiple instruments, and Wallfisch has made solo violin versions for this recording, skilfully incorporating the bass line to create a richly polyphonic texture.
Each of the composers presented here were violin virtuosos of their time, and would surely cherish such a supreme exponent to display their art today.