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  • chrisdumigan

J.S. Bach arranged by Frank Koonce and Heather DeRome : Violin Sonata No1 BWV 1001 : DOz

J.S. Bach arranged by Frank Koonce and Heather DeRome

Les Productions D’Oz: 34 pages

This latest edition to the Frank Koonce series is a publication that you might think you have already, because like me you might well have quite a number of different publications, all purporting to be that particular person’s version of the Sonata No1 in Gm BWV 1001.However let it be said that Frank Koonce’s version is very detailed indeed. There are no less than 19 pages of Introduction going into immense technical and musical detail that really sets the bar very high indeed. The explanation and methods he goes into to create the suite we now have here for guitar is some of the most interesting I have ever seen, and so players should seriously think about that before dismissing it as ‘ yet another version’

The 1st Sonata begins with a very complex prelude , marked as an Adagio, and like many pieces by Bach for a solo instrument, the writing is very complex, with a multitude of small notes in alarming groups that look and sound like no one else’s music. Adagio it might be, but the actual speed of the amount of notes that you play take it into another territory entirely.

Then comes the very famous Fuge that, even if you have never played the whole Sonata, you may well have played this particular movement, seven pages of some of the most compelling ever written by the Master.

The third and penultimate movement is a Siciliana in Bb Major, and a slightly more relaxed piece, by way of contrast. However the key f Bb means that there are several places where it is not an easy piece to get your fingers around especially as the writing is diverse and moves around considerably.

The final Presto is a Gigue in Gm and almost consistently in semi – quavers .The huge majority of it however is in merely one voice and so the main difficulty is simply keeping the piece moving at a Presto speed, when there are no places to pause at all.

Of course anything by Bach is both spectacular and extremely demanding, and so players have to be excellent to do it full justice. However the players who do attempt it will find it endlessly fascinating , and really good practice, especially when this particular edition does go into a great deal of fascinating detail; in its introduction.

Chris Dumigan

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