Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, 1st movement
Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, 1st movement
Johann Sebastian Bach
Professor Boris Garlitsky and his student Pauline Van der Rest focus on bowing, articulation, and tempo in this violin masterclass.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy in November, 2021 at Arc-et-Senans.
In this session, Professor Boris Garlitsky and student Pauline Van der Rest take on the Sonata No. 2 in A Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.
In order to capture the right character of the piece, Professor Garlitsky describes the piece as if it were a ‘dark dream.’ The student is instructed to pay special attention to the basses, as well a the high notes, which Garlitsky interprets as the human – lyrical sides of the oeuvre.
What’s more, the professor discusses bowing and the importance of finding stability in the bow itself in order for it to slide with higher fluidity. Other specified elements in this class include the importance of playing without tension, articulating the melody, mastering the sound, and maintaining tempo.
Allowing one’s to bow glide for a more fluid sound.
Paying attention to the bass.
Maintaining the tempo.
Capturing the sombre and emotional context of the piece.
The Sonata No. 2 in A minor is part of a set of six works composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1720, but only published many years later in 1802 in Germany. The Sonatas and Partitas by Bach are always part of a violinist’s repertoire and have frequently been recorded and performed all around the world.
Bach’s work helped establish the technical capabilities of a solo violin for generation to come. The Sonata No. 2 is particularly dreamlike. It is also a grave piece that reads like an adieu. Careful and correct articulation is paramount to play this piece well.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Boris Garlitsky’s feedback and comments.
In 1982 he was the winner of the Premio Paganini in Italy.
"Boris Garlitsky is an extremely lively musician of high intelligence and flexibility, with a wonderfully round tone and solid reliable technique... Concert Master of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Garlitsky measures up to every Concert Master of the world’s top orchestras, such as New York, Vienna, Berlin etc., and can play an outstanding role in all leading international orchestras.” These are the words of Kurt Masur, one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, with whom Boris Garlitsky worked together throughout many years. And still, Mr. Masur’s words grasp but a part of Boris Garlitsky’s musical richness.
In 1982, Boris Garlitsky won the Italian Paganini Competition and began his career as a soloist. Since then, he has played, among others, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia as well as the Milan based Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra and the British Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. His interpretations of Shostakovich’s violin concerto with the Orchestra National de Lyon were praised in the press. “The intensity and irresistible force of persuasion brought to it by all the skill of Boris Garlitsky was worthy of the work’s first interpreter, David Oistrakh”, the Lyon Figaro commented. Mr. Garlitsky is an active participator in several international music festivals. He regularly takes part in the Pablo Casals Festival in France, Mostly Mozart in New York, the London Proms, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and Gidon Kremer’s Chamber Music Festival at Lockenhaus in Austria. Also, Mr Garlitsky performs for the BBC, Radio France as well as a number of radio stations in Italy, Russia and the United States. He has recorded for RCA, Naxos, Chandos and Polymnie. “Boris Garlitsky was a worthy partner of Anne-Sophie Mutter in Bach’s double concerto, performed together with the London Philharmonic… Let us concentrate on the gigantic chaconne from the partita in d minor for violin solo: Mr. Garlitsky’s interpretation as such made this a concert of outstanding class. Highly differentiated and uniquely colourful in play, Mr. Garlitsky’s brilliant intellectual understanding of the piece and expressive characterisation of the individual variations reflected the authenticity and individual depth of the artist’s Bach interpretation” (Dr. Karl Georg Berg).
Garlitsky is an outstanding chamber musician and member of the Hermitage String Trio, praised right and left in critical reviews: “… undoubtedly one of finest of its type, with discipline and musicianship second to none”(www.classicalsource.com); “true brilliance! This ensemble will do much to put more string trio repertoire on the musical map” (Strad); “with virtuosic elegance and, above all, affection” (Hexham and District Music Society); “that gentle exaltation of chamber music which passes by the dramatic gestures of symphonic music but rather expresses intimate and the profound, which goes straight to the heart and transports you to a dream” (Nice Matin). Mr. Garlitsky’s repertoire is amazingly rich. Among his partners are Pinchas Zuckerman, Gidon Kremer, Marta Argerich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Vadim Repin, Truls Mork, Maria-Joao Pires. Last but not least, Mr. Garlitsky is so popular among his colleagues due to his amiable character. “Garlitsky’s charisma is glaringly obvious. And how! A first violin of such imposing presence is a blessing for any ensemble” (La Montagne).
Born in Russia, Mr. Garlitsky received his first music lessons from his father, the author of the standard textbook for young violinists, “Step by Step”. He studied with Professor Yankelevich at the Moscow Conservatory, and afterwards worked as the Concertmaster for the Moscow Virtuosi and the London Symphony Orchestra, the Covent Garden Opera, the Vienna ORF Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic and many more.
Today, Mr. Garlitsky devotes a large amount of his time to education. He holds a chair at the Folkwang Universität der Künste, Essen (Germany). In addition, Mr. Garlitsky offers master classes on a yearly basis at the most renowned music institutions including the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Peabody Conservatoty in Baltimore, Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin and Kronberg Academy. “He is also very successful as a teacher and his instruction would be an enrichment for any musical institution, be it orchestra or music academy. His knowledge, his energy, his honesty and his ability to connect with people and create harmony are in my opinion the quintessence of why he can serve as a role model and ‘leading light’ for the young generation.” (Kurt Masur)
Johann Sebastian Bach is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in music history. His incredible creative power, technical mastery, and intellect have made a lasting impression not only on classical music but also on many different modern music genres we know today.
Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, Bach was a member of a very well-known family of musicians. At 18-years-olds, he began working in Arnstadt where he accompanied hymns at church. His professional career as a musician would follow in Weimar, where he resided from 1708 to 1717. Here, Bach would deepen his theoretical study of composition and write most of his organ works. Moreover, he composed preludes and fugues that would be part of his collection The Well-Tempered Clavier. After building a considerable reputation in Weimar, Bach moved to Köthen to take a new role as Chapel Master. Writing less religious songs and putting more of a focus on chamber music, his compositions from this time would bring Baroque instrumental music to its pinnacle.
From 1723 until his death in 1750, Bach worked in Leipzig. First, as Thomaskantor at the Thomasschule and later as a private tutor and director of the Collegium Musicum. During this time, Bach worked on creating a repertoire of cantatas for church and revised many of his previous compositions. From 1726 onward, his keyboard works were published. His death in 1750 came to mark the end of the Baroque period and the beginning of Classicism. For many years after his passing, Johann Sebastian Bach’s works were buried with him until they resurfaced many years later and celebrated for their musical ingenuity.