J. S. BACH: SONATAS & PARTITAS FOR SOLO VIOLIN
Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas - BWV 1001 – 1006
The Violin Sonatas and Partitas manuscript, which has fortunately survived, is dated 1720. The first page of the autograph carries the note “Libro Primo”; Bach’s Cello Suites BWV 1007-1012 may have been regarded as the “Libro Secondo”. A dedicatee is not known. Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Violin Sonatas and Partitas when he was employed as Kapellmeister in Köthen (1717-1723) and probably completed the cycle in 1720.
There is hardly any other work in the entire violin literature with such significance. Bach set new standards in playing and composition; these works have lost none of their topicality and brilliance to this day.
Few composers had written works for unaccompanied violin before him, and indeed not entire cycles. However, it is assumed that Bach knew, for example, Johann Paul von Westhoff’s collection of Solo Violin Suites (1696). In his compositions, Westhoff had already attempted to create the illusion of bringing polyphonic music to life through an unaccompanied melodic instrument. Bach brought this art to an unsurpassable level of perfection in his Sonatas and Partitas.
The six Violin Sonatas and Partitas were already astonishingly widespread in the 18th century; many copies were produced. However, they only became widely known when the violinist Joseph Joachim, a close friend of Brahms, began to play them more frequently in the concert hall.
Today, it is impossible to imagine the violin repertoire without this cycle of works.
Read more in the booklet (German texts and interview)
Swiss violinist Esther Hoppe has made a name for herself as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher at an international level.
After studying in Basel, Philadelphia, London and Zurich, she won 1st prize at the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg in 2002. As a member of the Tecchler Trio, she won numerous awards, including the German Music Competition, the Prix Crédit Suisse and 1st prize at the International ARD Competition in Munich.
In addition to appearances as a soloist (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Les Siècles, the Basel Chamber Orchestra and the Munich Chamber Orchestra, among others), she maintains an active career as a chamber musician. Her partners include Ronald Brautigam, Christian Poltéra, Francesco Piemontesi, Clemens and Veronika Hagen, Lars Anders Tomter, Heinz Holliger, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Pascal Moraguès.
She can be heard regularly at top-class festivals such as the Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Lucerne Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Musiktage Mondsee, Fjord Classics, Styriarte Graz, Delft Chamber Music Festival and Mozartwoche Salzburg.
Highly acclaimed CD recordings of works by composers such as Mozart, Stravinsky, Poulenc and Saint-Saëns have been released by Claves Records, Virgin Classics, Neos, Concentus Records and Ars Musici.
Esther Hoppe is professor for violin at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.
She plays the “De Ahna” Stradivari violin from 1722 and a violin by Gioffredo Cappa from 1690.
German texts in the booklet
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