A private performance late in the evening for colleagues – long time collaborators and good friends – here at the Bennington Chamber Music Conference.
It was a great pleasure to share this performance with friends with whom I have studied and performed many works of great – and not-so-great [smile] – musical significance. As we began, I was not so sure that I would play the entire Partita (what I first had in mind), but decided to just start at the beginning and let it all flow as best as it would after almost two week of daily teaching and rehearsing. The Chaconne is often played by itself, as a stand-alone work – yet I am coming to the firm conclusion that it is an integral part of the entire work (Partita in D Minor BWV 1004): better said, that the 4 opening movements based on old (in Bach’s time), known dance forms completely flow into the Chaconne, that the Chaconne is an organic emotional, musical and spiritual resolution to the questions raised in the previous movements – Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande and Gigue. One of my colleagues pointed out that many musical elements in the Chaconne are foreshadowed in the dances, linking them together, and that those dances are part of the internal balance, so to speak, of the whole work.
I tested out – with apparent success – ideas that I have been working on in the studio – a few of them in brief: the opening (Allemande), a declamatory call for the attention of the Spirit and a reminder of the Soul’s spiritual journey; an encapsulation of the struggles of Life (Corrente), deeply seated questions of Life’s meaning (Sarabande). I also used the organizing principle of rhythmic drive and groove described below in the recent practice session. They all apparently came clear to my listeners. In particular the rhythmic drive in the first part of the Chaconne set up great freedoms in the return of the theme in the concluding section (minor).