Another release on Jonny Greenwood’s classical label, Octatonic. This time it’s the turn of violinist Daniel Pioro playing J.S.Bach’s Partitia No.2 In D Minor. As well as the music you get a booklet which includes J.S. Bach’s original score and an essay written on the piece by Daniel Pioro himself.
Vinyl LP £23.25 OCTAT1
180g vinyl LP on Octatonic Records. Comes in a tip-on sleeve with booklet.
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The gall, the absolute cheek! Who do I think I am, this writer about contemporary music, this utter pretender? What right do I have to pass judgement on Johann Sebastian Bach, he of the classical musical canon, he who launched a thousand BBC Radio 3 specials? Sure, I can knock out a review about the latest indie rock record, but what am I going to do when faced with one of the most beloved composers in history?
Well firstly, I’m going to enjoy it. Daniel Pioro’s performance of ‘Partita No.2 In D Minor’ is utterly breathtaking. Pioro’s violin playing is exuberant and dynamic, his fluency with the instrument fills every note with emotions and meaning. And what meaning! Bach’s composition is a mournful dance, the violin flitting around full of pain. For the most part the piece is monophonic, but Bach is masterful at using the occasional polyphonic swipe to underline and emphasise certain melodic phrases.
It makes one of the most overwhelming music experiences I’ve had this year, thanks largely to Jonny Greenwood's production. Rarely has music sounded so dry, so present. I feel like there’s a direct line between Pioro’s mind and my own, which eases the complexity of what he’s playing somewhat. It also helps that, at 26 minutes, the piece is slight, but anything more would likely be too much.
So my final word on Johann Sebastian Bach? He’s good!
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