Imaginative and sometimes wild take on Bach and his solo violin legacy

Francisco Fullana: Bach’s Long Shadow

Francisco Fullana: Bach’s Long Shadow

The Strad Issue: September 2021

Description: Imaginative and sometimes wild take on Bach and his solo violin legacy

Musicians: Francisco Fullana (violin) Stella Chen (violin)

Works: Bach: Partita no.3 in E major BWV1006. Ysaÿe: Solo Violin Sonata op.27 no.2; Poco lento, maestoso (Sonata for Two Violins). Kreisler: Recitativo and Scherzo (arr. Loiseleur, Fullana). Albéniz: Asturias. Tárrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra (arr. Ricci)

Catalogue number: ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100165

Built on Bach’s legacy, Francisco Fullana’s enterprising programme explores various musical and personal interconnections. Fullana uses some ‘period’ tools in his account of Bach’s Third Partita (BWV1006) but adds, in repeated sections, extempore ornamentation that is intrusive and decidedly unhistorical. Nevertheless, his light bowing, phrasing and dynamic shading in the Preludio are engaging and his Loure has a pleasing lilt; but his slick tempos in the other dances and unusual E natural in Menuet II (bar 19) confirm his interpretation’s egocentricity

BWV1006 is metamorphosed into an obsessive virtuoso display in Ysaÿe’s Sonata op.27 no.2, Fullana interpreting its striking outer movements as if a madman. He also brings the morbid Dies irae theme consistently into focus and characterises the third movement’s variations with flair and imagination.

Fullana’s Spanish ancestry is celebrated in arrangements of Albéniz’s Asturias and Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra, the latter less successfully realised in a hiccup-like interpretation seemingly lacking fluency and control. However, he dispatches Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo with the requisite solemnity, drama and virtuosity and encores (partnering Stella Chen) with an intensely sonorous opening movement of Ysaÿe’s Sonata for Two Violins. Fullana’s liner notes combine philosophical, poetic and nostalgic sentiments and his 1735 ‘Kreisler’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ benefits from natural, warm recorded sound.