JS Bach Partita no 2 in C minor BWV826
J.S. Bach was a composer, violinist, harpsichordist, and organist of the Baroque period. Throughout his sixty-five years lifetime, Bach composed an incredible 1128 pieces of music. Among them, 223 pieces are written for the keyboard; this includes Bach’s most well-known keyboard repertoire, “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” as well as his Keyboard Partitas. Bach wrote six Partitas for the keyboard, being the last set of keyboard suites he had composed. Bach’s Keyboard Partitas were originally written for the harpsichord instrument, first published individually in 1726, and, as a set, titled “Clavier-Übung I” in 1731 – BWV 825-830. The Keyboard Partita No.2 in C Minor, BWV 826 has six movements, each movement representing a unique Baroque dance style. The piece starts with a grand French Ouvertüre style titled, Sinfonia, and evolves into a fugue. The Sinfonia is followed by the Allemande – the first entrance dance in moderately slow, serious dance in quadruple meter; the Courante is a fast pace gallop style dance in triple meter, with fire and passion; the Sarabande – a moderately slow dance in triple meter with the emphasis on the second beat; the Rondeau – a fast paced dance in triple meter, but count one beat per measure; and lastly, the Capriccio – another fast paced dance with the emphasis on the second half of the measure.
Leon Janacek On an overgrown path
Janáček composed his piano music around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, before he found fame late in life with operas such as ‘Jenůfa’, ‘Káťa Kabanová’ and ‘The Makropulos Case’. Epigrammatic but obsessive, these intimate pieces speak of the composer’s passions and frustrations. But like his later works they are loaded with drama and big ideas.
The first book in ‘On An Overgrown Path’ is notable for its poetic titles – such as ‘Our evenings’, ‘They chattered like swallows’, ‘Unutterable anguish’ – which find expression in music of apparent folk-like innocence and sudden passions, which reach a powerful climax in the violent contrasts of the first book’s final piece, ‘The Barn-Owl has not flown away’. This is music of heartbreak and desolation hardly less moving in its way than the great scenas of love and abandonment which Janáček composed for his operatic heroines.
Stripped of such titles, the second book in ‘On An Overgrown Path’ is more elusive in meaning, swinging between a gentle, Czech translation of Debussy’s Impressionist tone-painting and darker, more sinister currents of expression that run raw and angry in the Sonata which Janáček wrote to commemorate the death of a young man at the hands of the police in Prague during political protests in the autumn of 1905. From seven years later, the four-movement cycle of Mists recovers some of the Romantic melancholy of ‘On an Overgrown Path’, though its cathartic finale presents a stiff challenge to any pianist with its torrents of notes.
Diana Hinds piano
Diana read English at Jesus College, Cambridge and worked as a national newspaper journalist, including on the stafff at The Independent, before resuming serious study of the piano when her children were young. She now combines playing and teaching, with pupils at New College School and Oxford High School in addition to her private practice. She enjoys accompanying, including at the Abingdon Music Festival which she helps to run. She gives regular recitals of piano and chamber music in and around Oxford, and in recent years has enjoyed lessons with the pianist William Howard. She also plays violin in a number of Oxford ensembles.