An evening themed by Philharmonic Berlin Bach.
“I am playing the violin, that is all I know, nothing else, no education, no, nothing. You just practice every day.“
I began this text with a Quote from Itzak Perlman, one of the most significant violinist of our times.
This describes clearly musicians daily life. It is a lifestyle; you and your instrument.
Nothing else matters. Talent will never show its brilliance without hard work.
Yesterday we had an unforgettable evening. Enjoying the Worlds greatest violin pieces in the greatest concert Hall, Philharmonic Berlin.
Christian Tetzlaff performed the most beautiful and complex pieces composed for violin.
The Philharmonic Berlin Bach
First piece was famous Partita for Violin 2 d minor (BWV 1004).
Partita starts with Allemande, a baroque dance, translated as “German dance” Allemanda, which refers to Germany.
Christian starts in the Philharmonic Berlin with Allemande and plays it with a faster tempo.
Baroque music is often played nowadays in faster tempos. Performing has changed with time. Baroque dances have a clear structure and tempo, and they were often played slower than many musicians would play them nowadays. An example from Bachs Well tempered Clavier collection.
Bach did not compose piano music.
He composed the Well tempered Clavier for clavichord, which has nothing similar to piano, despite only the fact that it uses hammers as piano does as well.
The touch, the sound is different.
Modern interpretations of these pieces are often played in a new, lets call it modern way.
More speed: the romantic period
What a modern way mean, I refer here to the epoch of Romantic period; Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms and many more.
These were the times when music had more jumps in tempo and also in structure. Reasons are more than simple.
During this time modern piano was already invented and its capacities allowed to compose composition for keyboard, where legato (bound notes together, without separating each tone and making the sound remind more like one whole sentence bounded together), staccato (Tones are detached from each other very clearly so the sound is sharp and clear breaks between each notes are remarked), crescendo (from more silent tone to get to louder tone.
This is called in our times “Volume-button”, diminuendo (simply just opposite of the “Volume button”) etc.
Unfortunately Bach was living before Romantic period and did not have the possibility to get acquainted with piano, so he had to compose for the existing instruments of that epoch.
I do not even want to think about it, what J.S. Bach would have done if he would had had a possibility to get in touch with piano.
There are many opinions and interpretations of Bachs music.
Some musicians want to follow the Baroque way and play the pieces as they were played on clavichord.
Some other musicians claim, that if we had the opportunity to develop instruments to that level, where we can use all the possibilities to use diversities of each sound, why not to use these given opportunities?
The Partita D minor
Partita D minor was composed during the time when Bach was working for Prince Leopold.
These were the fertile times for Bach. He had all the freedom to compose whatever he wanted.
He was free from religious masses and cantatas and did not need to focus his time on the “order-works”. Bach never published his partitas, they were purely composed only for his intelligent satisfaction.
These partitas were not only technically difficult to play, but also so profundity, that a listener could have a privilege to discover and analyze each time more and more while listening to the pieces.
I would like to go back to the topic of the Partita itself and its structure. It consists of the set of Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue and Chaconne.
Each dance has its own origin and come from 16th century. Sarabande is a very popular dance and is with a slower tempo.
The finale: Gigue
The last part of Partita is usually Gigue, which is the fastest part.
Partita D minor does not end with Gigue, but follows up with the most well-known Chaconne, which is very often played also just separately as a single piece in concerts and violin contests. Bach was quite a good violinist himself and presumed that he played all his pieces by himself too, at least in his youth times.
Still, the Chaconne D minor is unobtainable for most of violinists, even the violinists of our times, with best pedagogues and best instruments.
Just purity: Classical music
My love towards classical music started a long time ago.
Why I love it so much, is not only that it is pure and beautiful. It is also respectful towards the listener.
It is not pushy, not vulgar, it leaves all the imagination to the listener. Everyone can interpret it as he likes.
Compositions have no specific names, as also this world famous Partita D minor.
The names are not needed, when there is a masterpiece written.
The concert in the Philharmonic
The Philharmonic Berlin Bach concert ends with Bela Bartoks Violin Sonata Sz 117. Technically difficult, piece which shows all the capacities of the instrument.
This piece shows freedom and aggression which comes from the deep of human soul, the darker part of it.
Bartok was a professor of piano at the Academy of music in Budapest.
Well known fact is that he never taught composition as a subject in the academy.
He was afraid that it would harm his creativity and inspiration to compose.
The atmosphere was intimate and at the same time lonely, but very powerful and full of confidence and admiration.
The violinist was performing alone on the stage surrounded by the audience, which remained in the shadow. I like solo concerts, chamber concerts as well, because they are in a way more private and more powerful in own way.
One musician on the stage needs to show its power, passion, skills, and beauty of the sound of the instrument.
He cannot hide behind the Symphony orchestra.
I want to end this post in same theme as I started it, with Itzak Perlman. Please, enjoy his interpretation of Chaconne D minor.
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Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.