REVIEWS

 

“technically assured, stylish and eloquent”
(The Strad)

“his sound is rich and nuanced, his command of the difficulties complete”
(Gramophone Magazine)

“very strong and muscular, much like Nathan Milstein’s playing of Bach”
(All Music Guide)

“one of the most fascinating releases that I have had the pleasure of reviewing.”
(American String Teacher)

“his tone is even, pure, and warm, and his intonation is spot-on”
(Strings Magazine)

“Sometimes the best song doesn’t have a singer”
(Star-Ledger)

 


Gramophone, June 2008

“Bach [raised] the art to its peak in his iconic Sonatas and Partitas, but Baltzar appears to have helped set the scene…preludes, allemandes and courantes are early models of compositional concision and elegance. The pieces are…endowed with sophisticated turns of phrase and harmonic personality. Certainly the discernment and imagination Baltzar invested in his unaccompanied works were destined to provide curious violinists with ample technical challenges, as well as musical rewards. Patrick Wood is one of those violinists. [He] makes a splendid case for Baltzar, playing the collection with graceful and fervent assurance. His sound is rich and nuanced, his command of the difficulties complete.”

– Donald Rosenberg


Strings Magazine, August/September 2008

“Thomas Baltzar is a little-known German violinist and composer who is getting a well-deserved airing in this new premiere recording…This CD represents his complete output of unaccompanied violin music, and is also the first-ever recording of this once-innovative music. What’s so striking about the pieces is their early use of polyphony. One immediately thinks of Bach when hearing the pieces; though composed around 1660, 25 years before Bach’s birth, it’s almost as if they are primitive strains of his writing. Baltzar’s compositions stand out for their early use of double-stops and scordatura… British-Mexican violinist Patrick Wood thoughtfully plays the works. His tone is even, pure, and warm, and his intonation is spot-on. His light, gentle playing adds just the right shimmer to the simple beauty of each short piece.”

– C.K.

The Strad, July 2008

“British violin playing displayed few indigenous traits in the 17th century. It was influenced instead by Lullian French court music and foreign violinists such as German- born Thomas Baltzar(c.l631-1663), who arrived in England in 1656 having served at the Swedish court. Baltzar was particularly admired for his left-hand facility, double- and multiple-stopping and skilful bow management, technical attributes that are prerequisites for the performance of his innovatory music for unaccompanied violin.

British-Mexican violinist Patrick Wood’s pioneering recording has been carefully and thoughtfully prepared. His playing is technically assured, stylish and eloquent… Wood skilfully manipulates the multiple-stopping and successfully conveys the subtleties and complexities of the polyphony, implied or otherwise.

The various dances are strongly characterised and cleanly articulated, notably the chirpy allemandes in C major and B flat major, and tempos are largely well judged throughout. The four brief dances in scordatura, novelties for their time, are deftly dispatched.”

– Robin Stowell


American String Teacher, May 2010

“This is one of the most fascinating releases that I have had the pleasure of reviewing. An accomplished early music performer, Wood is an expert guide through this repertoire, exhibiting exceptionally high standards of scholarship, performance and production.”


All Music Guide, March 2008

“It should not be surprising if the name of German-born violinist and composer Thomas Baltzar is unfamiliar to listeners, for his name and most of his compositions have been all but lost to oblivion. Thanks to violinist Patrick Wood, however, we have this short set of recovered works for solo violin. Written some 65 years before Bach would write his Solo Sonatas & Partitas, Baltzar’s compositions already show him to be an unrecognized innovator in his extensive use of polyphony throughout his works. The final four tracks on the album also show Baltzar’s use of scordatura — a procedure by which an instrument is tuned to different open strings than usual to produce a different color to its sound — which was an unknown technique in Germany at the time. Wood’s playing does great justice to Baltzar’s works and speaks well of his exhaustive efforts to unearth them. His playing is very strong and muscular, much like Nathan Milstein’s playing of Bach. Intonation is quite precise, and his voicing of the polyphonic texture of the music allows listeners to follow the melody easily as it wends its way through the range of the violin. …this album is a welcome discovery of unheard solo violin music performed convincingly.”

– Mike D. Brownell


CD Hotlist, May 2008

“…yes, that’s a single instrument in the G Major Prelude…”

– RA


MusicWeb International, May 2008

“Patrick Wood plays with precision and appropriate gravity, elucidating the polyphonic textures of Baltzar’s music with admirable clarity and he benefits from a good recorded sound. His performances have an air of conviction and certainty that put the case for Baltzar very effectively.”

“All with an interest in the history of the violin repertoire, or in the ‘English’ music of the seventeenth century should hear this CD.”

– Glyn Pursglove


Turok’s Choice, June 2008

“[Baltzar’s] complete music for solo violin, excellently played by Patrick Wood, is impressive as well as historically important.”


Atlanta Audio Society, May 2008

“These performances are distinguished by their purity of tone and their austere sound… the haunting sound of Baltzar’s Preludes, Allemandes and Sarabandes comes to life once more.”