Bach’s Ciaccona – A Moment of Beauty

On January 4, 2012, in Music, by Robert Dallison

Going through my sheet music this evening, I stumbled across the Ciaccona (or Chaconne). Tucked away in the middle of Bach’s beautiful Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (1), this piece is as haunting to listen to as it is fiendishly difficult to play.

The 6 Sonatas and Partitas are known as a reference work for serious violinists, but even the best will approach the Ciaccona with respect — sometimes taking years to prepare it for performance. Johannes Brahms, himself no slouch when it came to composing, had this to say about the Ciaccona in a letter to Clara Schumann:

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 you have twenty minutes to spare, pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to this sublime recording of the Ciaccona by Itzhak Perlman — unfortunately split into two parts, but well worth the trouble of a click halfway through!

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

1. Johann Sebastian Bach, Partita no. 2 in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1004)

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OK, it's time to start running again during the week. Today was a lunchtime 5k with the final 1km up a long, slow climb. I didn't manage to nail it in one (had to walk 100m about halfway up), but I'm apparently in much better shape than when I started runnign again back in September. Planning to slowly increase mileage and hopefully see gradual improvement. Just getting round this course without stopping to walk will be an accomplishment! posted 303 days ago

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5K - 23:17 (Oct 16, 2010)
5K - 23:37 (Mar 13, 2010)
5K - 26:23 (May 23, 2009)
10K - 49:09 (Oct 3, 2010)
10K - 49:36 (Nov 26, 2009)
10K - 51:36 (Oct 4, 2009)
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10K - 45:00
13.1 - 1:40:00
26.2 - 3:45:00
Feb 2012, four marathons in 4 days
May 2012, ten marathons in 10 days