Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita Number 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004

I am embarrassed to have little to relate about when I first heard this piece. In my previous post, when writing about Partita Number 3, I mentioned how in the dorm room next to mine at the French House in 1075 there lived a guy who claimed to be a descendant of Richard Wagner and who was a composition major. Shortly after he moved in, so did his girl friend, and she used to play a recording of the “Chaconne” of the “Partita Number 2” ad nauseum.  So today I’ve chosen the third movement, the “Sarabande.”  If you want to hear the full “Partita Number 2,” I’ve put in a recording by Milstein.  This next link is a performance of the “Sarabande” by Gil Shaham.

It turns out that the “Chaconne” has captured the hearts and minds of quite a number of musicians and music lovers over the years and it has been transcribed for many different instruments. I still prefer the purity and razor-sharp clarity of a solo violin, however, and will stick to the Milstein recording of this piece.

Unfortunately, over exposure to the “Chaconne” made me ignore the second partita, which is unfortunate, because the other four movements have much to offer. The first movment is called “Alemanda,” (which means “German”.) This was a dance form popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. It has four beats to the measure and always starts out with a short note or several short notes. It is usually serious but not ponderous and of a moderate speed. This Alemanda seems to me quite intricate and complex and the melody goes on for an astonishingly long time before repeating itself. The even beat gives it almost as clock-like, inexorable rhythm.

Once again, Bach’s genius astounds me. My only hope is that one day I will be able to listen to this work again and not think of the girlfriend of an ex-dorm mate with bad housekeeping habits.

Here’s the full “Partita No. 2” played by Nathan Milstein, by the way.  Pure heaven.

MP3 or CDs of Bach: Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

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About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

2 Responses to Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita Number 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004

  1. kvennarad says:

    I don’t know why, but your mentioning the Alemanda reminds me of a line in a 1960s comedy drama starring Jimmy Edwards*. It was a Jane Austen spoof, and Edwards, after a turn on the dance floor, remarked “That last Schottisch was rather hottisch!” Not particularly funny now, but it’s weird the way one’s memory works.

    *this Jimmy Edwards http://images.npg.org.uk/264_325/3/1/mw17831.jpg

    Like

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