Bach’s Works for Solo Violin – Aspects of Historically Informed Performance

Hiro Kurosaki

The Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach, who titled them simply Sei Solo, embody a central point in the repertoire of all violinists. Even though we engage with them our entire lives long, many questions still remain open. This has partly to do with the fact that we’re no longer all that familiar with Bach’s baroque musical language and the symbolism it contains.
We’re also not necessarily helped by the long modern bow when it comes to bringing out the dance rhythms in the Partitas and the polyphonic structures in the Sonatas to good effect.
In our workshop, we’ll attempt to approach this monumental work—addressing all of the Sonatas and Partitas, if possible—with an eye to historically informed performance criteria as well as in light of my many years’ worth of very personal experience as a baroque violinist.
The point is to help interested musicians discover answers and solutions to the most varied questions and problems in terms of both style and violin technique. There will also be a chance, for those who dare, to try out baroque bows!
And last but not least, the plan is to present what we’ve worked on in a concert on the workshop’s final day.

Active participation: all violinists, passive participation: all strings
Intensity level: 2