Perhaps appropriate for a pioneering venture, Menuhin plunges ahead and saws away fearlessly, although he does provide a sense of focus and pensiveness by relaxing many of the faster dances. Nowadays Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001-1006) are regarded as touchstones of any violinist’s technical and musical maturity. The timbre of the guitar creates new and emotional resonance and unsuspected dynamic gradations in those passages which might have been created purely for the violin; as for instance the variations in arpeggi. [6], The Chaconne is often performed on guitar. Many commentators have come to consider the Sonatas and Partitas the apex of Bach's natural affinity for polyphony (the vertical interplay of separate musical lines). Bernard Jacobson noted with some irony that only now, in light of modern musical trends, are we sufficiently free of the tyranny of harmonized melody to be able to "hear" Bach the way he intended. Bows stretch a length of horse hair between a fixed tip and a moveable frog adjusted by a screw to relax the tension normally and then tighten it for use. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004, International Music Score Library Project, Bach's Chaconne in D minor for solo violin: An application through analysis, Recording of Busoni's transcription of the Chaconne, Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001–1006, Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV 1014–1019, Sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord, BWV 1027–1029, Sinfonia for violin and orchestra, BWV 1045, For two harpsichords in C minor, BWV 1060, List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach,, Articles lacking reliable references from June 2016, Articles with incomplete citations from June 2016, Articles with International Music Score Library Project links, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz work identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 24 September 2020, at 21:30. With others, there's an unavoidable tension in negotiating the mechanical hurdles. J.S. His complete mastery of the technical challenges allowed him a unique opportunity – to transcend practical limitations to draw us to a rarified level where the barest of inflection wields a surprisingly powerful impact. Sustained chords are arpeggiated, either by quickly rolling them or by breaking them into two sequential chords of two notes each, and long notes are broken into the rhythms of the shorter ones. This has been published by the Hofmeister Musikverlag in Leipzig. Indeed, the very notion of rediscovering Baroque performance practice has far less relevance for strings than other instruments. The earliest version for organ is by William Thomas Best. He lauds the elegance of Bach's writing as an inspired economy that manages to suggest continuity with discontinuous means. He grew up listening to his father play the violin, and it was as a violinist that he obtained his first public appointment, playing in the Weimar Court Orchestra. Wiener Urtext Edition uses furthermore an early copyist's copy from Köthen as a secondary source which has not been valued very highly as a source until now. So for whom did Bach write these works? dance), ‘Narcissus & Echo’ at the Opera Factory Freiburg, Universal Edition wins digital publishing award for ‘UE now’, The reduced arrangement of Wozzeck to be performed at Bayerische Staatsoper, World premiere of Wolfgang Rihm's ‘Stabat Mater’ at Musikfest Berlin 2020. That, too, is debatable. (All of the these plus many others are on The Recorded Violin, Pearl BVA I and II.). Bach also wrote three partitas for solo violin in 1720 which he paired with sonatas. Bach's glory is to require the listener to become involved in the process of filling in the "missing" parts to create a complete aural image from the barely sufficient clues he provides. Indeed, Bach often seems to urge expression through lovely sensitive curved slurs and beam lines. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.[5]. BWV 1004 – Partita No. The partitas are suites of dances, although the second breaks away to conclude with arguably the greatest piece of music ever conceived for solo strings – a 15 minute chaconne in which a single idea resonates through 31 variations that embrace a universe of artistry and expression. [2], Yehudi Menuhin called the Chaconne "the greatest structure for solo violin that exists". Even at the mid-point of his life, Bach knew that his beloved polyphonic music, to which he was deeply devoted as symbolic of God, was becoming passé. Marc Pincherle, Secretary of the French Society of Musicology in Paris, wrote in 1930: "If, insofar as certain rapid monodic passages are concerned, opinion is divided between the violin and the guitar as the better medium, the guitar always triumphs in polyphonic passages; that is to say almost throughout the entire work. The partita contains five movements, given in Italian as: Except for the ciaccona, the movements are dance types of the time, and they are frequently listed by their French names: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue, and Chaconne. Henryk Szeryng (1954, no CD, or 1960s on DG) outlines the structures by phrasing with dynamic and rhythmic subtlety and varying the tone through his delicate bowing. It's a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect." Notwithstanding its historical importance, the overall impression is more of sheer intrepid momentum than memorable personality, subtlety or style. Johannes Brahms, in a letter to Clara Schumann in June 1877, said about the ciaccona: On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. Yet, Bach himself was an accomplished violinist (he began his musical career in that post), and would have had no need for such meticulous notation to remind himself of his own intentions. By the time he cut his integral set in 1955-6 (Bach Guild 1246) he clearly was struggling, yet managed to impart an aura of deeply personal involvement that gave his set a uniquely improvisatory feeling. Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo are among the most famous masterpieces of their kind. Just as a black and white movie forces you to infer color or a flat painting to perceive depth, Bach gives us just enough clues to "hear" a quartet's worth of sound from a single violin. Luca's view is supported by Bach's autograph – in several passages he writes repeated notes not continuously (as efficient notation would suggest) but with different groupings, so as to suggest that they not be played uniformly but rather as part of interlocking discrete lines. As historian Tully Potter observed, Bach's skillful writing imbues the solo with a harmonic drift that implies extra voices that aren't actually present. Nathan Milstein is rhythmically assertive and unabashedly virtuostic, both in a 1973 DG stereo remake and even more so in 1954-6 EMI mono.