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Baroque

Baroque

Classical

Romantic

20th century

21st century

Solo repertoire

Piccolo

Alto flute

Bass flute

Bach Johann Sebastian

Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Benda, Franz

Blavet, Michel

Boccherini, Luigi

Handel, George Frideric

Leclair, Jean-Marie l'aîné

Marais, Marin

Müthel, Johann Gottfried

Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista

Platti, Giovanni Benedetto

Quantz, Johann Joachim

Telemann, Georg Philipp

Vivaldi, Antonio

Chaconne in D minor (BWV 1004) for flute solo

By Bach Johann Sebastian

J.S.Bach Chaconne for flute solo, arranged from Partita in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1004) by Toke Lund Christiansen, Denis Bouriakov, and William Bennett.

The composition draws upon the Baroque dance form known as chaconne, with theme and several variations. The dance originated in Spain around 1600 as a fiery and suggestive dance, usually performed with castanets by a couple or by a woman alone. Later chaconne became popular in Italy and France, often appearing in the stage works of Jean-Baptiste Lully. The musical form of the chaconne is a continuous variation, usually in triple meter and a major key; it is generally characterized by a short, repeating bass line or harmonic progression.

In Bach’s Chaconne, the basic theme is four measures long, short, and simple enough to allow for 64 variations.

The Partita was written between 1717 and 1720 during Bach’s employment at the court in Köthen (Germany). There have been some speculations that the Chaconne was written around the time when Bach returned home from a trip and discovered that his beloved wife Maria Barbara has passed away.
One of the reference points regarding possible state of mind and emotions that could've been a possible reason of this masterpiece is a letter of Johannes Brahms to Clara Schumann where he states: "On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind. If one doesn’t have the greatest violinist around, then it is well the most beautiful pleasure to simply listen to its sound in one’s mind.”

However, there's more to be considered when approaching this piece. As computer scientist Bernard Chazelle suggests in his article "Discovering the Cosmology of Bach" that Bach composed for the glory of God alone and he expresses not his own personal grief but rather universal, more complicated, and essentially human grief "

“As opposed to other composers, Bach targets the very young, the child, and people of a certain age, like me. And tries to leave out the middle. What I mean by this is that there are all kinds of mental, psychological dispositions from the opera that he totally shunned. Envy. Greed. Lust. Jealousy. I mean, this is the bread and butter of the opera. He never went there. He had no interest in that. His music tries to express things like, awe, grace, thanks, fear, trepidation, hope. All kinds of sentiments a child can have, and an older person can have, but none of this sexual nonsense in the middle. And, so, in that sense, he thinks of death very differently from his own experience. He lost his parents before he was 10. He lost both of his parents and then he lost half of his children. He lost 10 children. And, so, these are different times, different circumstances, and for us, it can be very surprising to see these reactions.

You can tell from his music that his emotion is raw. It is so controlled, but it is so profound. This is a man who truly grieves. I mean, you’ll hear the chaconne. It’s a dance. But it’s a grieving dance. I know, it seems like a paradox. But it’s extremely moving and — of somebody who has enormous feeling. And, yet it’s very controlled.”

Denis Bouriakov

Live performance (presumably BFS hall, 2006)

1. Part

00:00
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Denis Bouriakov

Live performance (presumably BFS hall, 2006)

2. Part

00:00
YouTube icon

Bach Johann Sebastian

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer who is regarded as one of the most important composers in the history of music. Among most of his popular works – instrumental works for violin (Sonatas and Partitas), cello Suites, keyboard works (Goldberg Variations, The Well-Tempered Clavier) numerous organ compositions (e.g. Toccata and Fugue in D minor), numerous instrumental concertos for keyboard, violin and various instruments (Brandenburg Concertos) as well as some profound vocal music works: Mass in B minor; St. Matthew Passion etc.
J.S.Bach was born in Eisenach as part of The Bach family of musicians. Orphaned at the age of 10, young Johann Sebastian lived with his oldest brother Johann Christoph for five years. During the following years he worked at several protestant churches and as a Kapellmeister at the Prince Leopold court in Köthen (1717-1723).
In 1723 he was appointed as cantor at St. Thomas, the principal Lutheran church in Leipzig (after G.P.Telemann declined to relocate to Leipzig). Even though he was mostly perceived as organist at his time, he gained honorary appointment at the court of Frederic Augustus, King of Poland in Dresden.