Jennifer Koh Explores History of Solo Violin Repertoire in “Bach & Beyond”

Chicago native Jennifer Koh‘s ambitious solo violin album, Bach & Beyond Part 1, was released on CD by Cedille records on October 30 and is also available on digital download. It is the first in a three-part series of recordings which stem from Koh’s world-wide recital series exploring the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach’s sonatas and partitas through modern-day composers. Bach & Beyond Part 1 includes Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006, Eugène Ysaÿe’s  Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 27, Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne, the world premiere recording of Missy Mazzoli’s Dissolve, O My Heart, and Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004.

An interesting aspect of Bach & Beyond Part 1 is the thread of Bach which runs through several of the works. Following Bach’s Partita No. 3, Ysaÿe’s second Sonata begins with the tune that opens the Preludio of that Bach work, with the rest of the piece largely based on the melody of the Dies Irae chant. Missy Mazzoli’s Dissolve, O My Heart, titled after an aria in Bach’s Saint John Passion, begins on the same D minor chord as the Chaconne from the final work on the album, Bach’s Partita No. 2.

In the below video about the CD, Koh describes how the album’s mood transforms as the music travels through the bright Bach E major Partita; the darker realms of Eugène Ysaÿe, Saariaho, and Mazzoli; and returns to the light through Bach’s D minor Partita. A full track listing for the album is available at the end of this post.


Cedille CDR 90000 134

J.S Bach (1685-1850)
Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006 (21:16)
1. I. Prelude (4:03)
2. II. Loure (5:22)
3. III. Gavotte en Rondeau (3:05)
4. IV. Menuet (5:15)
5. V. Bourrée (1:30)
6. VI. Gigue (1:59)

Eugène Ysaÿe (1838-1931)
Sonata No. 2, Op. 27 (12:59)
7. I. Obesession: Prelude (2:36)
8. II. Malincolia (2:58)
9. III. Danse des Ombres: Sarabande (3:59)
10. IV. Les furies (3:19)

Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952)
11. Nocturne (4:48)

Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980)
12. Dissolve, O My Heart

J.S. Bach
Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (30:57)
13. I. Allemande (4:49)
14. II. Corrente (2:23)
15. III. Sarabanda (4:22)
16. IV. Giga (4:05)
17. V. Ciaccona (15:06)

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