Recordings and reviews
JS Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin BWV 1001-6
A marvellous performance … played by a deeply admired artist. Waterman’s profound understanding of the essential continuity of thought in each of the movements of these works is well-nigh perfect … I have no hesitation in saying that … anyone who cares about great music should acquire this release.
Everything here is deeply felt, the product of a profound engagement with the music, as Waterman’s own detailed booklet-notes make clear … Her creativity extends to elaborate decoration of the repeats in several movements. More like variations than improvised ornaments, they demonstrate her thorough absorption of Bach’s idioms. There’s so much here that’s stimulating and thought-provoking.
Arresting and imaginative … obviously the culmination of years of exploration, it’s lived-in, it’s carefully considered, yet spontaneous-sounding, improvisatory, vital and startlingly effective.
JS Bach: complete Sonatas for violin and keyboard
American Record Review
She dances with grace and poise at any tempo. No-one catches better the jazzy – nay, the downright Carterish – polymeters in the last movement of the C-minor Sonata. Nor does anyone sustain better the endless Italianate arcs in the Adagios, where her every thirty-second and sixty-fourth knows its place and the big line emerges with effortless clarity … I have never heard the many passages in double stops including whole movements, like the Adagio of no.5, better in tune. They leave nothing to be desired. She knows that ornaments are meant not only to embellish but to add to expression. Hers sometimes bite, sometimes caress, and sometimes (as in the middle of the finale of no.6) shout, “Whee!” In short, these are instinctive, exuberant, visceral performances by someone with a complete standard technique (just listen to her thrilling bariolage in the second movement of no.2), but whose musicality and taste are far above the standard, and whose terpsichorean rhythm is of the elect … Waterman is an experience no Bach-lover should miss.
Fanfare Record Review, US
Violinist Ruth Waterman has a particular affinity with Bach’s sublime sonatas for violin and obbligato keyboard: she has given talks and written about them, but above all communicates her obvious insight through these eloquent accounts. … deeply affectionate and affecting performances.
BBC Music Magazine
The eloquently controlled warmth of emotion with which she spins out melodies such as the opening Adagio or the haunting largo of the C-minor Sonata is enough on its own to make one want to forget life’s troubles and lose oneself humbly in Bach’s unique genius.
Critic’s Choice, Gramophone
These thoughtful and finely nuanced Bach sonata readings entirely fulfil the high expectations raised by the first instalment … [which] bespoke nothing less than the utmost care and forethought. “Churned out” they certainly were not. The follow-up, offering the last two obbligato sonatas plus the two alternative movements for Sonata no.6 and the two sonatas for violin and continuo, is no less lovingly prepared. All the elements that were so enjoyable in that movingly sculpted release are present here too: the intensely felt but never heavy-handed lyricism; the lithe, rhythmic buoyancy in faster movements, the meticulous attention to local details of dynamic and articulation; and the long-range shaping created by involving crescendos and diminuendos, sometimes extending with outstanding success over a sequence of movements, as in Sonata no.6’s progression from the surprisingly subdued solo keyboard third-movement Allegro, through the halting phrases of the Adagio to the measured but steadily mounting joyousness of the final Allegro.
The texture is always clear, with the piano a full partner in the balance, and vibrato is used just enough to warm the tone… This is very fine Bach-playing. The sense of stillness and concentration in movements such as the Adagio of Sonata no.5 is unforgettable.
Waterman communicates thorough joy in her fiddling, whether in super-charged moto perpetuos or in probing introspection. Supremely exuberant.
The Andante movement brought this large, rapt audience very near to tears. The playing was full of small beauties and innocent passion. Schubert would have been pleased.
New York Times
The large audience was eating out of her hand… Waterman’s delight in Beethoven’s quirkiness, his capacity to surprise, challenge and animate, proved infectious and involving… Bridges were being built.
A master interpreter … triumphant performance.
Most violinists would give their eye-teeth for the kind of legato that flows so effortlessly from Ruth Waterman’s instrument.