Partita No. 2, Chaconne
In this masterclass for violin, Tedi Papavrami and his student Gandhi Saad work on Bach's Partita No. 2, the Chaconne, also known as the most challenging movement of the piece.
The pair discuss vibratos, how to express a musical idea, and intonation. What's more, Papavrami urges Saad to follow his intuition but to also be very patient when practicing such a difficult piece that generally takes years to master.
Expressing via the intonation.
Maintaining the rhythm.
J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 was composed between 1717 and 1720 as part of a collection of works for solo violin. Some believe the piece was in memory of his wife, Maria Barbara Bach, who passed away in 1720, although there is no clear evidence for this. The first four movements of the work are Baroque dance types: Allemande, Corrente, Sarabanda, and Gigue. Each of them is in a minor key and requires technical dexterity. However, the piece is most famous for its fifth and final movement, the legendary Chaconne. Nearly the same length as the other four movements combined, it is widely regarded as one of the greatest compositions ever written for violin. The Chaconne consists of more than sixty variations over a repeated bass line, and calls for remarkable expressiveness, intonation, and virtuosity. Performers and scholars have called the Chaconne “one of the greatest achievements of any man in history” and “a triumph of spirit over matter such as even Bach never repeated in a more brilliant manner.”
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 Tedi Papavrami’s feedback and comments.
In 1985 he won the "Rodolfo Lipitzer" competition in Gorizia.
Born in Albania Tedi Papavrami was introduced to the violin at age five by his father, a brilliant teacher with many years of pedagogical experience. Tedi progressed rapidly, and within three years he was performing at Sarasate’s Airs Bohémiens with the Tirana Philharmonic Orchestra. At the age of eleven-years-old, he tackled Paganini’s Concerto No. 1 with the Emile Sauret’s fearsome and challenging cadenza.
In 1982, French flautist Alain Marion, who had come to give a concert in Tirana, heard the child prodigy play – and promptly arranged for him to come to Paris with a bursary from the French government. Tedi went on to study with Pierre Amoyal at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. Moreover, he appeared on popular television programs and gave many concerts at that time. Eventually reaching the end of his studies, Tedi went on perfecting his instrumental and musical independently. He and his family eventually fled Communist-led Albania permanently and moved near Bordeaux.
Tedi Papavrami has won numerous international prizes in the 1990s and embarked on a brilliant solo and chamber music career. He has also collaborated as concerto soloist with conductors of the likes of Kurt Sanderling, Armin Jordan, Emmanuel Krivine, and more. He has performed in recitals and on disc with chamber music partners such as Philippe Bianconi, Nelson Goerner, Martha Argerich, among others. He has been recording since 1990. In 2014, he released a CD featuring 6 solo violin sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe and the same composer’s sonata for two violins alongside his colleague Svetlin Roussev, was simultaneously awarded two of the most outstanding French distinctions: the Diapason d’Or and the Choc de l’Année (Classica magazine).
Tedi Papavrami now lives in Geneva, Switzerland, where he is violin professor at the Haute École de Musique.
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-old, 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.