Johann Sebastian Bach

Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

    Description by Michael Jameson

    Alongside Paganini's 24 Caprices for solo violin and Bach's six cello suites, his Partitas and Sonatas (three apiece) for solo violin stand out among their comparatively few siblings as magnificent music written for an unaccompanied stringed instrument. And while they also represent the zenith of polyphonic writing for a non-keyboard instrument, Bach's sonatas and partitas were also crucially important in the development of violin technique. With their colossal scope, huge technical demands, and musical complexity, and notwithstanding their awesome intellectual intensity, these creations greatly transcended anything that had preceded them, including the Partitas for solo violin by von Westhoff (1696), and various comparable solo works by Biber, Pisendel, and others. It seems most probable that either the Dresden virtuosi Pisendel or Volumier, or even more likely the Cöthen Konzertmeister Spiess, would have been the first players to attempt these exceptionally challenging works, all of which sound as if they were written for an age of instrumental virtuosity that still lay far in the future.

    The sonatas are restricted to four movements (slow-fast-slow-fast, as with the early sonata da chiesa), one of which is a fugue. The Partitas are generally more extended, and of unorthodox formal design (as perhaps is implied by their more wide-ranging generic title), and by the more exploratory, improvisatory feel of the music even as they consist of sequences of Baroque dances. The awesome and eloquent Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004, seems for the most part to follow the conventional outline of the Baroque suite, opening with an earnest and purposeful Allemanda unexpectedly free of chordal multiple-stopping. There follow a Corrente and a Sarabanda, whose brief coda furnishes the link with the succeeding Giga.

    However, this work concludes with the most labyrinthine and intellectually powerful single movement ever devised for an unaccompanied string instrument. This is Bach's famous Chaconne (originally "Ciaccona"), a colossal arched series of 64 stunning variants upon the stark, open-ended four-measure phrase heard at the beginning. Two monumental outer sections in the minor enclose a major-key central episode, and this great structure encompasses every aspect of violin-playing technique and contrapuntal ingenuity that would have been known in Bach's day. The Chaconne, whose duration exceeds 15 minutes (and is thus longer than the rest of the work put together) is often performed as a free-standing movement and has also been widely transcribed for other instruments.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allemande
    2. Courante
    3. Sarabande
    4. Gigue
    5. Chaconne

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Brilliant Classics BRI 95757
    2018 Doremi Records DHR 80612
    2018 Audite 23434
    2018 Channel Classics CCS 39018
    2018 Sony Classical SICC-30493
    2018 In a Circle ICR 010
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon 4799372
    2018 Aparte AP 176
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon 4835050
    2018 Navona Records NV 6159
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 019
    2018 Centaur Records CRC 3676
    2017 Brilliant Classics 95480
    2017 ABC Classics
    2017 Discovery Music & Vision DMV 120
    2017 Azica Records ACD 71316
    2017 Albany Records TROY 1662/63
    2017 Eigenart EIGEN 053 CD
    2017 Nimbus Alliance NI 6331
    2017 MDG MDG 90320046
    2017 New Focus FCR 178
    2017 Nimbus Alliance NI 6351
    2017 Ondine ODE 12992D
    2017 Pentatone Classics / PentaTone Classics PTC 5186682
    2017 Solo Musica SM 267
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796220
    2016 Danacord DACOCD 773
    2016 Gega GD 19
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295944162
    2016 Analekta AN 287723
    2016 BIS BIS 2159
    2016 Harmonia Mundi HM 2016
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95424BR
    2016 Bridge BCD 9460
    2016 Oehms Classics OC 013
    2016 Linn Records BKD 366
    2016 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 15036
    2016 Linn / Linn Records CKD 548
    2016 Centaur Records CRC 3449
    2016 Decca / Philips 4788977
    2016 Avie AV 2360
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777051
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2016 Troubadisc TROCD 01444
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646019311
    2015 Ja Hsieh
    2015 Thorofon Classics
    2015 Praga DSD 350095
    2015 Challenge Classics CC 72648
    2015 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4123
    2015 Canary Classics CC 14
    2015 Supraphon SU 41862
    2015 Naïve E 8939
    2015 Nimbus Records NI 2581
    2015 Naxos 8573440
    2015 Francesca dePasquale
    2015 Sony Classical 88875126182
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646129812
    2015 Solo Musica SM 220
    2015 Stone Records 8057
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1605
    2015 Albany Music Distribution TROY 1605/06
    2014 Decca B002180802
    2014 Guild GMCD 2406/07
    2014 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT 348
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    2014 Pan Classics PC 10298
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    2014 Doremi Records DHR 8031
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4792936
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    2013 Wigmore Hall Live WHLIVE 0056
    2013 Centaur Records CRC 3211
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 868
    2013 Phi LPH 008
    2013 Musica Omnia 0503
    2013 EMI Music Distribution
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 838
    2013 Ondine ODE 12412D
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94667
    2013 Centaur Records CRC 32833284
    2013 Carpe Diem / Carpe Diem CD 16295
    2013 MSR Classics MS 1501
    2013 Skarbo DSK 11088
    2013 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT 325
    2013 Dynamic CDS 75812
    2013 Ars Produktion ARS 38126
    2012 Solo Musica SM 176
    2012 Cedille Records CDR 90000134
    2012 BIS BISSACD 1972
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    2011 Mirare MIR 128
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    2011 Nimbus Alliance NI 6142
    2011 Transart Live TR102
    2011 Gramola GRAM 98883
    2011 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT110902
    2011 Nimbus 6133
    2011 Camerata Records CMCD 201012
    2011 Transart Live TR 147
    2011 Berlin Classics 0016722
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    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908528124
    2011 Linn Records CKD 366
    2010 Estonian Record Productions ERP 3109
    2010 Decca
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    2010 EMI Classics 6482982
    2010 Ondine 1164
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    2010 Naïve V 5181
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    2010 Berlin Classics 0016732
    2010 Nimbus 2557/8
    2010 Apex
    2010 Teldec 256468103
    2010 MSR Classics 1336
    2010 Centaur Records 3057
    2009 Onyx ONYX 4040
    2009 Camerata Records 15081/82
    2009 Blue Saphir 1030
    2009 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009 Avie 2155
    2009 IDIS / Ital Disc IDIS 6564
    2009 Con Brio 232
    2009 Aeon 0535
    2009 Music & Arts MACD1223
    2009 Decca
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    2009 Document 231753
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Decca 4759968
    2008 Arte Nova Classics 675010
    2008 Naxos 8570277
    2008 Berlin Classics 0149292
    2008 Erato
    2008 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099952203
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Apex 4696157
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 88697306012
    2008 IDIS 6535/6
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921731
    2008 Alphée / Zebralution
    2008 Decca / Universal Distribution 1223
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 721742
    2007 Auris Subtilis 5021-2000
    2007 Linn Records CKD 300
    2007 Euroarts 2055638
    2007 Decca 0009905
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    2007 Haenssler 98250
    2007 Document 231122
    2007 Ancalagon 132
    2007 Eroica Distribution 3304
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    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220524
    2007 Apex 4643752
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    2007 Farao Classics 108029
    2007 Melodiya MELCD 1001000
    2006 IDIS 6490/1
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 92287
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    2006 Connoisseur Society 4270
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    2006 Bergen Digital 7042CD
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    2006 Artek 26
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    2005 Electrecord 583/84
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    2005 Istituto Discografico 6435
    2005 EtCetera Records 1236
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    2004 Cavalli Records 132
    2004 Sony Classical / Sony Classical Essential Classics 92938
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    2004 Tahra 533
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    2004 Centurion Classics 2067
    2004 Cedille Records 78
    2004 Elan Recordings 2212
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    2003 Droffig Recordings 10
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    2003 Musicians Showcase 1047
    2003 Testament 1257
    2003 Aura Classics 0261
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000204902
    2003 Musical Heritage Society 5260819
    2003 Telarc Distribution 80584
    2003 Classical Diamonds 4004
    2003 Multisonic 310487
    2003 Bach Guild 1246
    2002 Budapest Music Center BMCCD047
    2002 Philips Classics 4682062
    2002 Channel Classics 2498
    2002 Classica d'Oro 2014
    2002 Teldec 81229
    2002 Naxos 110918
    2002 Ars Musici 1333
    2002 Doremi Records 7780
    2001 Haenssler 92568
    2001 Parnassus Records 96009/10
    2001 Philips
    2001 Aura Classics 0203
    2001 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472775272
    2000 Orfeo 416001
    2000 Haenssler 92110
    2000 Berlin Classics 0032032
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73644
    2000 Astree E 8678
    2000 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243567197
    2000 Bridge 9101
    2000 Arte Nova 72113
    2000 Auvidis 4865
    2000 Analekta 23147/8
    2000 Eroica Distribution 3025
    2000 Arts Music 47199
    2000 Cedille Records 5001
    2000 Amadis 7187
    2000 Supraphon 3501
    2000 Linn Records 128
    1999 Magic Master 37044
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25716-2
    1999 IDIS 328/9
    1999 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77523-2
    1999 Philips 434075
    1999 Masterpiece 7901
    1999 Haenssler 92119
    1999 Naxos 554423
    1999 Channel Classics 12198
    1999 Biddulph Recordings 055
    1999 Strings 99312/3
    1999 Dynamic 164/1-2
    1999 MonoPoly 2037
    1998 Crystal Records Dist. CRYCD 345
    1998 EMI Music Distribution 66870
    1998 Vox 7901
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457701
    1998 Delos 3232
    1997 Linn Records 013
    1997 Virgin 45205
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453004
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon
    1997 ESS.A.Y. 1049/50/51
    1997 Hyperion 22009
    1997 Valois 4427
    1997 Music & Arts 972
    1997 Sony Classical 62793
    1997 Sony Classical 62793
    1997 Arbiter 105
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 66575
    1997 ESS.A.Y. / Essay Recordings 1056
    1996 Well-Tempered Productions 5180
    1996 MDG 3330614
    1996 Connoisseur Society 4207
    1996 Testament 2090
    1996 Philips 454128
    1996 Live Classics 171
    1996 Centaur Records 2472/73
    1996 Bridge 9066
    1996 John Marks Records 14
    1995 Orfeo 400951
    1995 RCA Gold Victor Seal 61748
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 445526
    1995 Centaur Records 2147/48
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon
    1995 Arion 64116
    1995 Gallo 510
    1994 Philips
    1994 Philips 438736
    1994 Decca 440031
    1994 Virgin 45089
    1994 Orfeo 130852
    1994 Naxos 550570
    1994 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243555123
    1994 Skarbo 1944
    1993 Pearl 9942
    1993 Vanguard 8021
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64494
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64793
    1992 Elektra 73030
    1989 Capitol 63035
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 49483
    1987 Delos 1005
    One-Eleven 89013
    Water Lily Acoustics 07
    Yuri Liberzon
    Brilliant 93102-VOL1
    Brilliant 99701
    Town Hall 7
    Linn Records 5013
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    Image Recordings
    EMI Music Distribution 65333
    AMPCAST
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    FSM Adagio 97712
    Adda 581134
    Smithsonian Collection of Reco 10382
    Meridian Records 84208
    RCA 7708
    RCA 60971
    Warner Music
    Deutsche Grammophon 413810
    MCA 99841
    Supraphon 1806
    MDG 3051028
    Fone 9027
    Musicaimmagine Records 10033
    Brilliant 92391/21
    Brilliant Classics 93668/21
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    Agora Musica 110
    Deutsche Grammophon 423294
    Accord 200562
    Ambitus 97818
    ASV 454
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    Sony Music Distribution 44165
    BMG 61749
    Doremi Records 7733
    KYO-ART
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    Arts Music 47582-2
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