1720, Köthen. Johan Sebastian Bach has just completed his latest composition, Sei Solo – a violino senza Basso accompagnato, or as they are more commonly known, Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo Violin. Out of all the dates, all the remarkable events, this is where I would choose to spend an hour if I could time travel. To hear Bach himself play the second partita in D minor in the cathedral where he worked, to hear the sound that Bach would have made, and to ask him about the Ciaconna.
For while there are other important moments throughout history that I would love to visit, there has been no other piece that has made such a significant impact on my life. On their own, each movement is incredible. As a sonata or Partita, it is an excellent example of violin writing. As a set, it is a masterpiece.
I’m going to leave it at that, and while there’s no videos of Bach playing (because it was a good couple of hundred years before even Audio recording was a possibility), I’m going to leave you with one of my favourite violinists, Yehudi Menuhin, playing the Ciaconna (an exceprt, because the entire piece is longer than 10 minutes, and I couldn’t find the second half).