Solo's & Sonata's

I've solicited some great recommendations from fellow audiophiles on both Audiogon and AudioAsylum. One such CD recommendation that I listen to frequently is the astounding recording of the Bach Sonata's by Lara St. John. It is an HDCD version, and not only is a wonderful performance of those sonatas, but is also a stunning recording. I've heard St. John signed with Sony, so I don't know if her stuff is still available on her original label as an HDCD, but I'd highly recommend it if you can still get it. One of the things I love about this and other solo recordings is the almost startling starkness and imediacy of the performer (which is really a rewarding aspect of having the gear that can bring that to life). I've noticed this frequently on well recorded acoustic recordings. There was a thread here recently about Muddy Waters Folk Singer CD, which, though not a solo performance, certainly exhibits that same kind of stark presence. For the purpose of this thread I was wondering if anyone could recommend any other solo/sonata recordings of other musical instruments (the St. John I mention is violin) that really stand out in both the performance as well as the recording? I'm getting building up my collection of both classical, blues and Jazz, so suggestions in any category would be great! Another great recent find is Max Vengorov doing the Ysaye sonata's on the EMI label. Again, this is Violin. How about piano...guitar...wind instrumens...exotic instruments?
Lara St. John is underestimated as a solo violinist, in part owing to her flashy and sexual CD covers. In truth, she really is very gifted, as is another youngster, Hilary Hahn.

As for Max Vengerov, I'm a little more lukewarm. He cuts corners at times and glosses over some more challenging runs.

As for others, I might suggest:

Uchida for Mozart piano sonatas. Her complete recordings of Mozart (Philips) is pricey, but I got a good deal on it on eBay.

Michael Pletnev is probably the greatest pianist to come out of Russia since the late great Emil Gilels. I buy EVERYTHING of his and have never been disappointed, be it Scarlatti (yes, on piano, not harpsichord...fantastic!), Liszt, Grieg, Beethoven. His "Live at Carnegie Hall" (DG) recorded in 2000 is simply incredible and his "Pictures From An Exhibition" (Virgin) is the best I've heard (it was written originally, as you probably know, for piano) and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

For cello, esp. Bach, there is both Rostropovich and Fournier (DG Archiv) are tops (more so than YoYo Ma).
Check out Janos Starker's digital recording of Bach cello suites. a lesser known artist but fantastic Bach violin solo works is by Mela Tenenbaum.

CPdunn, I agree with you about Pletnev, I heard his mozart the other night, very good.

as for st john, she was at her most stunning while she was in school, much better than she is now, trust me, I heard it. It was shocking. compared to then, she has become a little homogenized.

check out fournier and kempff doing beethoven cello sonatas. totally enjoyable. you'll have to look a little for this one, avoid the fournier/schnabel which isn't really as successful.

yes, Starker is fantastic, too! I'll keep an eye out for the Fournier/Kempff...hope I can find it on vinyl.