This week we are sharing the second video of a two-part series about the Siciliana in B-flat, from the first Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001. The concluding section of this Siciliana is different from anything else in all of the Sonatas and Partitas. We came across some questions there, which we likely would not have run into had we only been playing Bach’s notes. While arranging this section, we saw that there were phrases in which the harmonies seemed so ambiguous, we could only assume that we were missing something. For seven years we kept revisiting those measures, and finally were led to a most interesting answer by Robert Gjerdingen, a wonderful musician and brilliant theorist who is very knowledgeable about the music of the Style Galant composers.
It became apparent very early on in our work on the arrangements that this process was bringing us closer to the heart of the music, and in a way that was not attainable when learning to play only the notes that Bach himself wrote. The process of adding notes demands that one be constantly asking: “What was his purpose here?” or “What did Bach mean by this?” The impetus for us creating the Sonatas and Partitas website was to share some of our discoveries with all musicians who love to play Bach, whether it be on the violin or the guitar or keyboard, or any instrument. There are many videos and blog articles on the website already, with more being added regularly. Have a look at it and, as always, let us know what you think either on the website's contact form, or by replying to this newsletter.