Long admired for his interpretation of Bach's six Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin, Jaap Schroeder, a leading international soloist, here provides a detailed but informal guide to their performance.
Among the pinnacles of Baroque music, Bach's sublime solo violin works have long been central to the repertoire. The rich polyphonic textures of the works pose formidable challenges to the violinist. Yet the Sonatas and Partitas are far from being mere technical exercises. Their musical quality is such that no serious violinist can avoid studying them and few concert artists can resist the temptation of performing them.
This is a book for advanced students and performers. Using it is an experience akin to a masterclass conducted by a uniquely accomplished practitioner. Apart from his discussion of the manuscript sources and modern editions, the text is devoted almost entirely to practical matters - bowing, phrasing, ornamentation, tempi and so on. Schroeder strongly recommends the use of a baroque violin and, especially, a baroque bow, but his interpretive insights and suggestions are equally applicable to modern violinists.
Jaap Schroeder, who lives in the Netherlands and in France, is increasingly active in the United States where he is visiting lecturer at Yale University. His Smithsonian recording of the Sonatas and Partitas is available on the Naxos label.