Music Appreciation


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1705)

Leonhard Maussiell, Vi (1722)
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This is the last movement of Bach’s second violin partita from the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. The movement is in the key of d minor and a 3/4 time signature. It includes nearly all of the techniques used when playing the solo violin. This grand piece it is often selected to be performed by itself because the music is so technically challenging for the performer. The harmonies of the first four measures are the main foundation for all the subsequent variations. Full of capricious variations, it begins with a majestic and solemn introduction, and then an eerie main melody unfolds in which rapid clusters of notes frolick around like fairies and demons until finally slow chord sequences appear. It feels like unstable weather shifting back and forth between overcast and clear skies. It starts in d minor, but eventually modulates to D major. After all 25 variations are complete it finally returns to d minor for the ending, which is when it returns to the solemnity of the beginning.