Bows and the instruments that need them to make string sounds bloom have changed over centuries as music’s demands have changed. Paintings from the Middle Ages, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque eras depict many differences.
Earliest and simplest were small trebles played with short, convex bows the stretched hairs of which were understandably of low tension. Players’ arms had to move often and the thumb played a role in varying the tension. Useful as melody instruments only, they and their limitations inspired makers, possibly urged by performers, to experiment with altering proportions and construction of the sound box and neck, and to increase the number of strings from two to three, four or more. Frets were added to some while others remained without. Each enabled special qualities of expression to the tones of new music. Bows were lengthened, their curvatures altered. Weights might vary depending in part on the woods used. Local idiosyncratic variants gradually waned as makers and composers settled into distinct, idiomatic styles.
From the mid-Seventeenth Century on, performers could rely on instruments such as violins (and the bows made for them) to inspire the development of techniques suited to imitation of effects of elaborate vocalism (think of the castratiand other vocal virtuosi), sounds of animals and birds, even of warfare and effects of weather as well as purely abstract ideas to satisfy the mind and the enlivening gestures of dance.
Two “schools” of violinistic pioneers prepared the way for the tremendous achievements of Sebastian Bach: the Italian, of Uccellini, Corelli, and Vivaldi; and the German, of Schmelzer, Biber, and Muffat. From them came the prototypes for fantasies, variations, sonatas, and suites of dances uniquely suited to instruments from the workshops of such famed names as Amati, Guarneri, Stradivari, and Stainer. New heights for this South-North axis were reached around 1720 in Cöthen when Bach drew together in a single manuscript his Sei Solo. Violino senza Basso accompagnato.
Undocumented are the reasons for these works although the Italian title’s literalness (You’re alone) suggests to some fanciful imaginations that the collection may be an homage to Maria Barbara, Bach’s wife who died that year. More likely, the title’s spelling is simply erroneous. For certain, the subtitle can only be construed as the novelty that the music is self-sufficient, that unusually it is not to be accompanied. Therein lies the unquestionable brilliance behind six multi-sectional works that encompass bassline, harmony, and melody all under one bow drawn across the four strings of a single instrument.
This astonishing body of literature is presented here as the product of the artist’s re-creative inspirations, based on Baroque practices. Little additional ornamentation has been added, the music being so fully provided for by Bach. Employed are an instrument with softer strings than usual today and a Baroque bow. The combination allows for delicate nuances to be realized naturally at the beginning and ending of each stroke, for effortless chord playing “around the curves,” for strings to be enjoyed in low, open positions and to be changed mid-phrase seamlessly. Thus, the instrument responds quickly to render tonal resources of unusual lightness and transparency in service to Bach’s score.
“a first-rate set of Mozart sonatas”
“The BBC Music team’s current favourites”
“Cotik has a consistently brilliant violinism and warm, enveloping sound ”
“'What a Performance 2020' Award Winner”
“there is no question but that this is the most exciting rendition of these works I’ve ever hear... this is now my benchmark performance of these works”
“ There are so many delightful details to savour that one hardly knows where to begin...a most rewarding Mozart cycle”
“I highly commend Mr. Cotik for his innovative interpretations and I hope many future audiences will experience his musical excellence”
“an extraordinary performance that can stand up against any other”
“their lofty musicianship dwarfs their profound scholarship”
“Cotik’s performance is powerful and technically brilliant, the intonation always flawless,... fearless round, and well-balanced”
“an exemplary presentation of marvelous music”
“If anyone's up to the task, it's Cotik”
“NOMINATED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS 2018”
“Some of the music is sultry while other works are fast, rhythmic, and ornamented to show the exquisite virtuosity of Cotik”
“Cotik proves to here to have conquered an impressive variety of repertoire, already now much wider than what is usual today.”
“clarity and tonal opulence rare in recordings of violin music”
“Tomás Cotik’s deeply analytical playing adds to an exhilarating display of the musical wonders the composer saw in the violin”
“exceptional...Piazzolla can be played differently than this, but provably not better.”
“Argentinean violinist Tomás Cotik... is not just another violinist. He is a passionate musician who always seems to get under the skin of the music he performs”
“an excellent violinist”
“laudable level of technical accuracy…tenderness and warmth”
“a musician who prepares thoroughly and has great respect for the music he performs”
“violinist Tomas Cotik is always up for a new challenge”
“An ideal disc”
“brilliant Argentinean violinist”
“Everyone who plays these works should hear these exemplary performances...you will never hear these Telemann Fantasias played so well ”
“Cotik…honored not only his professions as musician, but the memory and work of Franz Schubert”
“the brilliant musicians’ ability to shift tempos...gracefully wring emotion from heartbreaking ballad tempos or generate fireworks with breakneck riffs...”
“it is a fact that the enthusiastic performance of Argentine Tomás Cotik and the way he captures the audience is captivating”
“Very recently I discovered this marvel ... two extraordinary instrumentalists who, combining their talents, achieve ... something great. ”
“The joyful virtuosity and stylish musicianship that Tomas Cotik and Tao Lin brought to their superb cycle of Schubert’s violin-and-piano works for the Centaur label happily permeate their cycle of Mozart’s sonatas”
“A revealing album of the mastery of the young performers who sign it ”
“His interpretation of Bach’s sonatas and partitas his newest album in should add a notch to his reputation as a stellar violinist”
“excellent violin playing...extremely enjoyable interpretations of music that I love”
“Comparisons are inevitable; on my shelves are the Grumiaux- Haskil team, the Stern-Barenboim combination, Szymon Goldberg and Radu Lupu, and Zukerman and Neikrug readings. The Cotik-Lin duo can take its place among those earlier esteemed ensembles with heads held high.”
“short this is a great recording if you value warmth and sweetness in Mendelssohn. Here, though, nothing is forced, and, as I say, the world seems a better place.”
“Cotik makes Kreisler seem almost smarmy, Isabelle Faust almost mannered, and Julia Fischer as though she's filed down the detail”
“Cotik Kicks Butt in Piazzolla! A wild and wonderful CD.”
“Cotik transcends even the profoundly meditative”
“I’ve had a listen to a few alternatives…including Isaac Stern with Daniel Baremboim and Lydia Mordkovitch, but this duo pretty much ticks all the boxes”
“I marvel at the technical skill which effortlessly encompasses these deeply contrasting styles....a technical as well as expressive master stroke”
“Supersonic Award winner. Tomas Cotik’s Piazzolla is carnal, passionate and nowhere easy-going. Together with his group he has produced a riveting CD.”
“Cotik plays with a resonant, clear and warm tone, and dynamics, phrasing and tempi are all perfectly judged...a sentiment that is clearly evident in every single track of this exemplary set”
“outstanding from the very beginning”
“I find the Cotik and Lin performances most interesting and the sound on their disc is excellent”
“The versions are optimal due to the stylistic understanding of the duo and the instrumental excellence of the admirable violinist. ”
“Astor Piazzolla and its main interpreter is the Argentine violinist Tomas Cotik's ...musical maturity joins that way of feeling one's roots, which gives the experience of remoteness ”
“recreating the visceral charge of Piazzolla’s legendary quintet concerts and recordings”
“among the very best Piazzolla albums”
“Cotik phrases this music with such feeling, making you wonder if it could possibly sound better in any other performance.”
“Cotik sounds consistently brilliant ”
“absolutely impeccable, with intonation in the centre of every note, and his left hand flying around the fingerboard with remarkable agility”
“wonderful album…impressive for the elegance and sensitivity of the interpretations”
“a work of high quality, for the originality of the arrangements and especially because he is an excellent instrumentalist ”
“remarkable, artistic and expressive interpretations ... at a high level and perfectly adapted to the respective styles ”
“this superbly produced Schubert disc…comes warmly commended”
“this is clearly a team to watch. I am sure we will be hearing good things from them in the future”
“The Piazzolla album is not just Cotik as brilliant interpreter, but also as creative mind.”
“a record which quality manages to propose the fascinating freshness of Germanic musical culture as new, as if the music had never been heard before ”
“This album...immediately stands out as a recording of excellent quality. Equipped with a refined technique, Cotik interprets these masterpieces of Bach's genius with a deep sense of style thanks to an attention to phrasing ”
“Cotik’s performances are full of color, possess an elegant virtuosity and above all achieve the lyrical refinement that springs from a music that catches us by its rhythmic and melodic seduction ”
“My first chamber choice for the year. ”
“Evocative concert of Jewish classical music”
“Overall, these two discs featuring Cotik must be regarded as among the finest performances for their consistent artistry and idiomatic grasp”
“None of these pieces has ever sounded quite like this before.”
“A neglected stash of unrecorded Schubert”
“a new way of looking at, understanding and perceiving music from different eras”
“ Also in the interpretation of Mozart's sonatas, Cotik's excellent performance and perfect technique stand out in the particularly brilliant articulations ”
“true treasure...one of the latest gems to emerge from the season”
“there is no question that this disc is, by some distance, Naxos's best Piazzolla recording”
“one comes away from the recording dazzled by Cotik's musicianship and technique; one is also struck by the agility of his execution, his expert command of tempo and intonation, and his ability to consistently maintain the highest level of performance ”
“Cotik never indulges in violinistic brilliance at the expense of music, but he sounds consistently brilliant nevertheless.”
“His pure sound, perfect intonation and fast tempos mean that Bach’s fiendishly difficult challenges become more exposed, yet he never misses a beat. The recording….captures the golden glow of his violin… in sound that is honest and clean”
“One imagines the Nuevo tango master would be as captivated as any listener by such exquisite performances.”
“brilliantly performs the complete series of sonatas composed by Mozart ... a masterful musical compendium ..... an essential, addictive set. An almost hypnotic musical journey ”
“If you love the solo violin, you won't find a better recording to suit your tastes”
“should leave listeners almost breathless…a vibrancy and attention to detail...strong individuality and… vitality”
“We encounter here an extraordinary violinist, with an overwhelming technique and a musicality; the results are excellent, with little or nothing to envy the greatest interpretations that could have ever been recorded.”
“Cotik scales Bach’s solo mountain with skill. His intricate yet soulful take is assured without ever being showy.”
“conviction, commitment, diplomacy, and character”
“Warmly and sensitively played with beauty of tone, Cotik... captures the essence of Mozart in finely spun tone and sensitive contrasts in dynamics, rhythmic integrity, and clear phrasing. Their deeply felt rendition of this purest of music, from the carefree early sonatas to the more dramatic later opuses, is a model of transparency and genuine emotion. ”
“without a doubt, an album to get excited and listen to continuously. Pure excellence. Essential! ”
“this is one of the great Piazzolla discs, and in perfect sound quality, I urge you to buy it.”
“a treat from start to finish”
“I was immediately impressed by their virtuosity and also their understanding of Piazzolla’s music. I was anxious to see them perform in person”
“an excellent violinist ... who picks up a rigorous, natural and unusual way of understanding and interpreting music ”
“His amazing technical skill and artistic know-how...create an indelible interpretation of Bach’s music...Cotik’s combines impeccable technique and an intuitive artistry to fashion a mesmerizing interpretation of these pieces.”
“The technical qualities of the recording - which is on the NAXOS label, by the way - are excellent.”
“excellent Piazzollean style, which is not frequently found”
“It is the result of many years of experience, full attention, research and decision-making....it is a recording of incontestable beauty...an adventure that displays a journey of absolute love for the music of J.S. Bach”
“intelligent and sensitive...glories in...colorations and shared emphasis”
“unusual depth and broad compass...absolutely brilliant... unmistakable vitality...optimally recorded”
“Cotik and the orchestra provided impressive advocacy for a multifaceted work that deserves to be heard more often. Cotik seamlessly handled the frequent changes in mood and adroitly traversed the work’s myriad technical challenges while always keeping the focus on the music.”
“the secret here...always let curiosity be a constant inspiration. If Tomas Cotik ever revisits these works on record it will be fascinating to hear the results, but it's hard to see how they could be better that this”
“This is an excellent recital. I enjoy the Piazzolla Tango Etudes more as played by Cotik than by anyone else. ”
토마스 코티크가 연주하는 바흐의 <무반주 바이올린 소나타와 파르티타>
토마스 코티크는 아르헨티나에서 태어나 북미지역을 중심으로 활동하는 바이올린 연주자이면서 대학에서 학생들을 가르치는 음악교수. 코티크는 이 작품 탄생 300주년을 기념하는 의미로 2020년 초에 이 음반을 발표했다. 국내에서는 아쉽게도 그리 큰 주목을 못받고 있는 듯한데, 최근 몇 해 동안 발표되었던 동 레퍼토리 음반들 중에서도 가장 주목해야 할 음반이 아닌가 싶다.
연주자가 바흐의 이 기념비적인 작품을 읽어내는 방법에는 여러가지의 길이 있을 것이다. 낭만주의적인 입장에서 연주자의 주관적 감정을 이입시키거나, 바흐의 종교관을 염두에 둔 해석이거나...코티크가 이 작품에 접근하는 방식은 연주자의 선입관이나 주관을 최대한 배제한채 바흐가 남겨놓은 이 텍스트에만 오롯이 집중하는 방식이 아닌가 싶다.
음반을 처음 들었을 때의 첫 느낌은 소리의 청량감이다. 군더더기 없는 맑은 소리의 투명함은 마치 그레고리 풀커슨(모던 바이올린 연주로 녹음된 동곡 녹음 음반중 최고라고 생각하는)의 것을 본능적으로 떠오르게 하는데, 비브라토 없이 프레이징의 변화만으로 뚝심있게 끌고가면서 이 작품이 갖는 구조와 형식의 아름다움을 드러낸다는 점에서...그리고 비교적 빠른 템포를 가져가며 꾸밈음을 생략하고, 각 음절의 적확한 인토네이션을 통해 이 작품이 가진 수사적 표현들을 잘 살려내고 있다는 점에서 그러하다.
하지만 좀 더 디테일하게 풀커슨의 녹음과의 차이점을 비교해보자면, 보다 섬세하고 다양한 음색의 표현들이 아닐까 싶은데, 코티크는 감정의 고양을 위해 다이내믹을 강조하는 대신 음색의 다양함과 표현력들을 통해 이 작품에 생동감을 불어넣고 있다.
그렇다고 결코 딱딱하지 않고 날렵하면서도 유려한 활의 움직임은 이 작품에 담겨있는 선율의 아름다움을 우아하게 뽑아낸다. 그리고 그 아름다운 선율속에 이 작품이 갖고있는 다성음악으로서의 매력 또한 선명하게 드러내 보여준다.
이런 해석과 사운드를 들려주기 위해서 코티크는 많은 고민을 했던 모양이고, 그런 고민끝에 내린 코티크의 선택은 바로크 활이었다. 그러니까 모던 바이올린에 바로크 활을 사용한 절충주의 연주라고 할 수 있다.
코티크는 어느 매체에선가의 인터뷰에서 자신은 처음엔 셰링이나 그뤼미오, 하이페츠, 시게티 같은 전통적인 연주자들의 연주를 듣고 자랐지만, 다 성장한 후 어느 순간에 로버트 힐이나 잔 라몬 같은 시대악기 연주자들의 영향을 받았음을 고백한 바 있다. 그 이후 상황에 따라 바로크 활과 모던 활을 바꾸어 가며 사용한다고....
우야둥둥....바흐의 <무반주 바이올린 소나타와 파르티타> 음반에 관한한 나의 초이스는 이제 이러하다.
모던 악기-그레고리 풀커슨
시대 악기- 스테파노 몬타나리
절충 주의- 토마스 코티크
The Bach that Cotik proposes is printed from an interesting sense of spontaneity, the product of a melodic sensitivity handled with ease and the coherent choice of tempo in each piece. The violinist's sound is delicately veiled and maintains its woody grain throughout the different technical and expressive situations that occur throughout the six works and their articulations. The mastery of the bow also allows him to express the passages of intricate polyphony with luminous clarity...
Famous for its numerous transcriptions, including that of Ferruccio Busoni for piano, the Chaconne is one of those pieces whose identity has been disrupted. Managing tensions and distention to combine depth and expansion with good judgment, Cotik's reading returns it to the labyrinths of baroque affection, leaving virtuosic expansions for other endings. For example, the "presto" from Sonata nº1, the "allegro assai" from Sonata nº3 or the giga from Partita nº3, in which in any case it does not lose the sense of the dance.
Cotik with Bach achieves a very personal reading. A great credit to the album.
Cotik’s performance is powerful and technically brilliant, the intonation always flawless, with fearless round, and well-balanced long diminuendos to adapt to the acoustics… Cotik proves to here to have conquered an impressive variety of repertoire, already now much wider than what is usual today.
OUT NOW | Violinist Tomás Cotik’s New CD: ‘Bach Sonatas and Partitas’
Like a breath of fresh air, Tomás Cotik’s new album of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin has an invigorating quality that will appeal to first-time listeners as well as those who are familiar with each piece. By using a Baroque bow on a modern violin, Cotik has found a new twist in the performance of these pieces, but that is not all. His amazing technical skill and artistic know-how, as shown in this 2-CD package on the Centaur label, create an indelible interpretation of Bach’s music that leaves us with a smile between the ears. Cotik’s combines impeccable technique and an intuitive artistry to fashion a mesmerizing interpretation of these pieces. The slower movements have a thoughtful, meditative quality that can draw listeners inward. The faster movements leap about with quicksilver turns that is downright cheerful. Cotik’s execution of double-stops, triple-stops, and quadruple stops tickles the ears, and throughout he has a nuanced approach to dynamics that keeps every phrase fascinating...In Cotik's hands they sound a fresh as a morning breeze and can put a smile on the face of even the most recalcitrant curmudgeon. But these are just a few of the many wonders that you will enjoy in Cotik’s playing, which brilliantly convey the elegant and refined but not fussy music that Bach wrote.
JS Bach Solo Violin Sonatas & Partitas Tomás Cotik (violin) Centaur CRC 3755-56 With a Baroque bow and a modern violin, Cotik scales Bach’s solo mountain with skill. His intricate yet soulful take is assured without ever being showy. (MB) ★★★★
A new account of Bach's great solo violin works treads a thoughtful way through the various interpretative possibilities. On this new disc, from Centaur, violinist Tomás Cotik brings has some thoughtful solutions to the questions which every performer must answer about these works...For this new disc violinist Tomás Cotik has clearly thought greatly about the music and style of the performance and has produced a series of articles for The Strad, talking about his approach to the works. Cotik's approach might be described as intelligently mixed...The result is a very clean, direct and very lean sound, often quite intense, with a strong linear quality. This gives an expressive... feel to his playing... and overall he brings a sense of the movements' architecture, keeping the music flowing without a tendency to stop too long to enjoy the scenery. So in the great Chaconne from Partita No. 2, we have a real feel for the movement's larger scale rather than moving from moment to moment, whilst the dance movements are often quite clearly that with a feel of the underlying dance rhythms.
Cotik is not trying to make the music mean something in the extra-musical sense, but that does not preclude expressivity and emotion. If you are interested in Bach's works for solo violin but uncertain which path to pick through the mass of different interpretations, than Cotik's intelligent middle way is a good place to start. A performance from a modern violinist who has clearly read the literature and thought about each of the decisions in context. That makes the performance sound rather dry, it is not. Cotik's virtue here is to be able to be expressive within his chosen medium
On this two-disc set of Bach’s Solo Sonatas and Partitas, Tomás Cotik’s deeply analytical playing adds to an exhilarating display of the musical wonders the composer saw in the violin. Cotik allows the main lines of the music, their lyrical qualities and above all the overall arcs of each movement to be fully developed and even prioritised. As a result, several of the complete works seem to end in an anticlimactic sigh which in retrospect feels like a moving gesture of humility.
Cotik seems to incorporate the implied harmonies of the music’s solo lines so they appear to flash deep pools of colour without impeding the music. This allows Cotik’s unerring sense of time and speed to produce results that are engrossing without being mechanically hypnotic. Cotik also leaves the music almost completely unembellished, putting his faith in his command of phrasing, the variety he adds with the light, deft strokes of his Baroque bow and, above all, in the notes Bach wrote. His pure sound, perfect intonation and fast tempos mean that Bach’s fiendishly difficult challenges become more exposed, yet he never misses a beat.
In Cotik’s hands, the Sarabandes in BWV1002 and 1004 are particularly exquisite. He reveals the delight Bach takes in the intricate little challenges found in the Tempo di borea in BWV1002 and the Allegro assai in BWV1006. His D minor Ciaconna is charming at times, even jaunty.
The recording, made at Portland State University, where Cotik is assistant professor of violin, captures the golden glow of his violin, made by Marc de Sterke in 2000, in sound that is honest and clean.
For the Record, Op. 113: Tomás Cotik's Solo Bach; Philippe Quint with Utah Symphony
Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!
Argentinian violinist Tomás Cotik follows his popular recordings of works by Astor Piazzolla with this album of the complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by J.S. Bach. "A unique and distinctive aspect of my interpretation was to record the album with a Baroque bow while still using a 'modern violin' at modern standard pitch. I find the Baroque bow to naturally help in interpreting the music, allowing for a light and resonant sound, quicker, more flowing tempi, and lively articulations. This helps bring to light the transparent textures, develop the expressive potential, and ultimately attain the desired affect of the music. And yet, as important as it is, the choice of bow was only one of the many facets and layers in my interpretation of this incredible opus. A lifetime of attention, research, and appreciation has been condensed into my actual recording, and I do hope it will speak for itself."
Compositionally, the writing constitutes an awesome achievement, of course, but impressive too is the Argentine violinist's ability to meet the work's daunting challenges. If anyone's up to the task, it's Cotik, an assistant professor of violin at Portland State University who's been the recipient of numerous international awards and boasts an impressive discography of Naxos and Centaur releases that extends from Mozart and Schubert to Piazzolla... An entire universe of emotion is encompassed by this material, some pieces ebullient and sprightly and others lyrical and sober. Needless to say, performing the six works requires a superior degree of virtuosic technique and artistry, but the violinist brings a lifetime of experience, study, and appreciation to an extraordinary performance that can stand up against any other. As impressive as the technical execution is the emotional articulation in Cotik's interpretations, from the affecting outpourings in the sonatas' slow movements... Cotik admirably scales the mountain that is the second sonata's “Fuga” in a manner that makes something incredibly challenging appear effortless. Delivered at a dizzying clip, the first sonata's breathtaking “Presto” soars in a flurry of single-note patterns, as does the third's “Allegro assai.” Even more jaw-dropping, however, is the double that follows the first partita's “Corrente,” the variation executed at a speed that'll leave you shaking your head in disbelief...one comes away from the recording dazzled by Cotik's musicianship and technique; one is also struck by the agility of his execution, his expert command of tempo and intonation, and his ability to consistently maintain the highest level of performance sans accompaniment. That all of the melodies, harmonies, and basslines presented on this recording were generated live by a single musician wielding a four-stringed instrument and bow is itself staggering.
You’d think that every avenue of these pieces has been explored, but that is not the case. With his latest CD on the Centaur label, Tomás Cotik has explore another route for Bach’s amazing works...The result is absolutely marvelous to hear. Cotik, assistant professor of violin at Portland State University, has detailed many of his thoughts about the various interpretations of Bach’s music in The Strad, the ultimate magazine for serious violinists. But you don’t have to be an expert in order to enjoy his playing of Bach. It is quite spectacular. Cotik excels at playing lightening fast passages with impeccable precision, yet he can stop on a dime and deliver an exquisitely lyrical line. He can caress a legato section, linger ever so slightly over a note, then toss off a run with elegant ease. The mixture of sounds from one movement to the next is thoroughly intoxicating. Cotik’s playing has been featured on several recordings, and he maintains an active performance schedule. His interpretation of Bach’s sonatas and partitas his newest album in should add a notch to his reputation as a stellar violinist.
Tomas Cotik is a highly regarded violinist by Sonograma Magazine. This recording shows a deep reflection and a complete knowledge of Bach's music....It is the result of many years of experience, full attention, research and decision-making....it is a recording of incontestable beauty...an adventure that displays a journey of absolute love for the music of J.S. Bach
EXCELLENT - 5 STARS
The three Sonatas and the three Partitas...are counted among the top challenges to that a virtuoso can face...and the amount of recording of these works is overwhelming.
The Argentine Tomás Cotik, winner of several international awards, world renown concert artist, professor at Portland State Unviersity, and with a broad discography that goes from Telemann to Piazzola, passing by Mozart and Schubert, gives us here a very personal version of these works, synthesising various interpretive traditions and employing a modern violin with baroque bow... We encounter here an extraordinary violinist, with an overwhelming technique and a musicality; the results are excellent, with little or nothing to envy the greatest interpretations that could have ever been recorded.
Violinist Tomas Cotik's brilliant recording...is released this month to mark the 300th anniversary of the composition...producing a smooth but bright tone with a lightness and agility that is quite breathtaking and never in any danger of becoming heavy-handed or over-stressed. Slower tempos are relaxed but never allowed to drag; faster tempos are dazzlingly brilliant, with faultless intonation. The result is a very personal and distinctive sound and style, with even the massive D-minor Chaconne never approaching the heavy and ponderous tones of some recordings...the secret here...always let curiosity be a constant inspiration. If Tomas Cotik ever revisits these works on record it will be fascinating to hear the results, but it's hard to see how they could be better that this.
...a highly thoughtful and thoroughly satisfying recording of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas...in which Cotik makes some highly personalized decisions about playing the music.... in Cotik’s hands (and beneath his fingers), it sounds very fine indeed. There is a sprightliness about these performances that is immediately winning, and at the same time there is all the seriousness one might wish for in the deeper and more-complex movements. The famed Chaconne of Partita No. 2 is lighter than usual but scarcely ebullient, its contrapuntal complexity highlighted by the care with which Cotik brings out its various components. To cite just one other example, the highly complex Fuga of Sonata No. 3, which leans (among other things) on the performer’s ability to perform quadruple stops, is neither heavy nor academic-sounding here, and its considerable length (only the Chaconne is longer) makes complete sense as a way to work through its musical arguments and overall development. Cotik, who uses less ornamentation than do many other performers, allows emotion into the music as appropriate, as in the openings of all three sonatas and in the two sarabandes... he also permits, even encourages matters to become almost frothy in some of the quick sections (Presto of Sonata No. 1, Gigue of Partita No. 3). What is evident throughout this Centaur recording is that Cotik has thought long and hard about every aspect of playing this music, from where to follow historically informed practice closely (and where not to) to when to show the music’s emotive power (and when to keep matters much more restrained). There is no “best” recording of these works – and no definitive way to answer the many questions they pose for performer and listener alike. There are, however, many excellent approaches to the music, each convincing on its own terms. Cotik’s are very decidedly within that distinguished group.
Acaba de ser publicado el último trabajo de Tomás Cotik, gran violinsta... en relación a su interpretación, Tomás ha publicado una serie de exhaustivos artículos en The Strad, detallando cada uno de los aspectos y motivaciones sobre esta su última producción.
No es mi intención trasladar todo lo que en ellos nos descubre, que es muchísimo...pero sí voy a entresacar con algunas citas, ideas clave de sobre su trabajo.
Entre medias de las citas podréis disfrutar de videos con algunas de las piezas de este disco: unas interpretaciones enormemente cuidadas, sutiles y rigurosas de las que son, probablemente la obra cumbre para violín solo en toda la historia.
In his first essay of the complete solo sonatas and partitas of J.S. Bach, Tomás Cotik approaches the daunting task with his customary verve and keeness of articulation. Cotik favors quick, lively tempi in the fast moments throughout the sonatas and partitas, and he applies them consistently in order to give his interpretations an atractive verve... it has a whirlwind intensity...Though he takes appropriately slow, deliberate tempi in such movements as the Grave of Sonata No. 2 and the very affecting Largo of Sonata No. 3, Cotik opts for remarkably quick tempi in most of the faster movements in all six works. His total time for the entire album of sonatas and partitas clocks in at a very quick 118:33 Compare this with 145:41 for Mark Kaplan (Bridge) to get an idea of just how brisk...His pacing is right on the money in the famous Chaconne in Partita No. 3, where the moment of repose that occurs just past the midpoint (5:41 in this account) never fails to raise goose bumps in this listener... In Partita No. 3, all of the musical forms following the Prelude ... were of dance origin and are given a real feeling of intimacy in this particular performance...As a final heads-up: Tomás Cotik is the sort of persistent artist who will be continually engaged with these six Himalayas of the violinist‟s art all his career. So don‟t expect these readings to be his last word on the subject!
Phil‟s Classical Reviews
I know that I know nothing: Tomás Cotik concludes his series on Bach
How I interpret Bach: This week Tomas Cotik focuses on Classification.
How I interpret Bach: This week he focuses on Traditions and Musical Lineage, ‘Interpretation’ and Performance Environment.
...Cotik is able to create delicate nuanced and full sounds for the slower movements and a tighter, brisker response for the faster passage work.
Cotik’s virtuosity shines with an almost breathless unfolding of the musical materials that traverse the range of the instrument. Tone and pitch are also spot on in these often breathless renditions. It makes those calmer, restrained moments even more stark by comparison.... There is beautiful subtlety in the sound and phrasing...Shaping some of these lines is another important facet in communicating the music’s power and Cotik manages this quite well with excellent rhythmic emphasis coupled with a fine sense of overall line...Cotik brings out these pointed dance rhythms very well here. The contrasts between these fast and slow dance extremes is brought out equally well...the performance have an air of authenticity to them that also help ease the listener into this fascinating sound world where one instrument can seem to still manage to infer harmonies, cross rhythms, and intriguing counterpoint...The sound helps provide an equally warm ambience that aids Cotik’s performance without blurring it with echoes or delays. Instead, it provides us a perfect seat with this music front and center. One can hear for themselves how the use of the Baroque bow changes the articulations and strength of tone that Cotik coaxes from his instrument... the bottom line is that Bach’s music really does shine here with both its moments of beauty and fascinating, virtuoso demands and displays... It is really a feast for Bach lovers interested in hearing Cotik’s approach and sound ideas for the performance of this music...the performances here are worthy of repeated exploration and enjoyment.
Argentinean violinist Tomás Cotik... is not just another violinist. He is a passionate musician who always seems to get under the skin of the music he performs...Cotik plays here with a modern violin but a Baroque bow, which he finds gives him better control and flexibility in this music... there is no question but that this is the most exciting rendition of these works I’ve ever heard. Indeed, as the performance continued—about the time I reached the “Tempo de Borea” of the first partita—I had to stop playing the critic and simply marvel at this man’s energy and commitment to the music. His passion is infectious.
By playing this music with such rhythmic acuity and emotional directness, Cotik has also managed to make us hear the connections between each movement, which in turn pulls the movements together to form a cohesive musical whole... this is now my benchmark performance of these works. You’ve simply got to get them!
Lynn René Bayley
How I interpret Bach: This week Tomas Cotik focuses on Treatises Sources, Numerology and the Doctrine of Affections.
This album...immediately stands out as a recording of excellent quality. Equipped with a refined technique, Cotik interprets these masterpieces of Bach's genius with a deep sense of style thanks to an attention to phrasing made according to the unique principles of the Baroque and with an udnerstanding of the rhythm, not metronomic, but aimed at accentuating the sounds of greater importance for the development of the discourse in which the artist always lingers with finesse. His refined technique also allows Cotik to highlight the polyphonic structures of the fugues... always delineatimng well the chords...while his expressive performance gives moments of intense lyricism in the Adagios of the first and third Sonatas as well as in the Grave.
Interview for FBOPERA
Vincitore del primo primo al National Broadcast Competition nel 1997 e del Government of Canada Award dal 2003 al 2005, Tomás Cotik ha all’attivo una notevole produzione discografica, consistente in più di una quindicina di Cd pubblicati da importanti etichette come Gramophone, American Record Guide, Fafare, Scherzo, Downbeat e Music Web. Il suo vasto repertorio va da Schubert a Mozart, da Piazzolla a Bach del quale ha inciso recentemente per l’etichetta Centaur le Sonate e partite per violino solo. Oggi lo abbiamo incontrato per questa intervista.
How I interpret Bach. Tomás Cotik on the Pieces in Context, The Title and Editions
How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on Ornaments, Trills and Appoggiaturas.
How I interpret Bach: Tomas Cotik on Tempo Rubato, Strong and Weak Measures and Notes Inégales
How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on Overdotting and Rhythmic Assimilation
How I interpret Bach: Tomás Cotik on strings, intonation and vibrato
Ahead of his 2020 album release of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, the violinist presents a new blog series, in which he discusses the contradictions between the opposing trends and traditions in Bach interpretation, and his personal solutions to them