Tracy Rowell

Tuesday, 03 December 2013

An eclectic selection of favourite tracks from the US double bassist

Listening to Rubinstein is like escaping into an imaginary world

Artur Rubinstein
Rubinstein Plays Brahms

In the 1980s I gave my mother, who was a professional violinist, the original LP of this CD, but I think I always loved it the most. When I was younger I would lie on the floor with my eyes closed and listen to the whole record, always disappointed when the end came. Listening to Rubinstein is like escaping into an imaginary world. He has an incredibly vocal and expressive sound, and phrases beautifully.

English Baroque Soloists/Monteverdi Choir
Bach Mass in B minor

When I first heard this work I was surprised that three hours could pass by so quickly and meaningfully – it really opened my eyes to the world of choral music. Listening to the mass, you are transported to a prayerful place, full of beauty. I love the pacing of this particular recording conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. There’s a great contrast between soloists and the highly expressive chorus, and the colourful combinations of continuo instruments help to keep this huge piece flowing from beginning to end.

Nathan Milstein
Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

I can listen to this recording over and over again. Milstein’s tone is so beautiful, his interpretation seems so natural and he brings out the architecture of the music. He balances everything from the large form and structure of each movement to the smaller motifs and other ideas, while at the same time maintaining a strong melodic sense and expressive sound. This music brings back good childhood memories of my mother listening to Milstein.

Anner Bylsma
The Violoncello in the 17th Century

This recording from 1989 was one of the first devoted to early solo cello music. The variety, humour, virtuosity and use of colour are amazing. I discovered Frescobaldi’s Canzoni from this recording, and as a result transcribed and performed several of his works on the bass, working from a facsimile of an original manuscript.

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Bach Cantatas

Lieberson’s artistry is amazing on this recording with conductor Craig Smith and musicians from Emmanuel Music. The range of vocal expression both from her voice and from the orchestra is captivating. The ensemble seems to be of one mind, expressing the meaning of the text along with Lieberson, from the moment of the first phrase of Ich habe genug (I have enough).

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