The Bach Project – G minor Sonata

Here is a start of something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time! Ever since I finished my recording of Paganini’s 24 Caprices for violin solo I wanted to do the same with the Bach Sonatas and Partitas. So here’s Sonata No. 1 in g-minor. Check back in 10 years to see the rest! (Just kidding, probably will only take 5)

Keep reading if you want to find out why and how I’m doing this!(or if your browser does not support Flash)

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Why?

In short, it’s been almost 20 years since I started playing Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo, and only now I feel I’m finally STARTING to understand them! So I decided I should document that. Hence, I think of this project as a documentation of my current understanding of these pieces (which is subject to change in the next 20 years).

(non Flash .mp3)
J.S.Bach: Sonata for violin solo No.1 in g-minor
I. Adagio (.mp3)
II. Fugue (.mp3)
III. Siciliano (.mp3)
IV. Presto (.mp3)

I think that part of the problem was that when I first started to learn these pieces I was doing it in a more traditional way (read: non-authentic), and although I was doing my best at the time I found it extremely hard to make sense of it. As a result, I was not a big fan of Bach in my teens(!), in contrast to Paganini’s caprices which I loved from the first time I heard them.  However, as I continued my education I started learning about different performance practices and getting more acquainted with the actual “baroque style” of playing. But it was a masterclass with baroque violinist (and historical performance practice specialist) Andrew Manze some 10 years ago that sparked my renewed interest in Bach.  Since then I had a privilege of playing on an actual baroque violin using authentic pitch (A=415 Hz) and familiarizing myself with a number of recordings in an authentic style (the most influential being one of Elizabeth Wallfisch).

Another problem that came into existence is the fact that I have a number of students playing Bach’s sonatas at this time.  So when I was asked to recommend a recording they could listen to I was puzzled: sure I love Heifetz and Perlman, and their recordings are ones of insurmountable quality, but do I like how they play Bach? Not sure. On the other hand, none of my students own and most have never played on a baroque violin, not too mention that listening to pieces at A=415 could be confusing. Hence a problem of recommending an authentic recording.

I don’t own a baroque violin either (and I actually really like how my modern violin sounds), so I decided to make a “fusion” recording. I figured a lot of things are “fusion” these days – fusion cuisine,  fusion bands, etc. “Fusion Bach” – meaning playing Bach on a modern violin in a more authentic style.  Of course, the quality of my performance and recording cannot be compared to any commercial recordings and I’m convinced that any baroque specialist would say that my playing is all but authentic, however that’s something I can afford happening these days (after I’m done playing at all those exams and competitions). So if you don’t like it, simply press the “stop” button or close the browser. No offense taken. Otherwise, enjoy!

 

 

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