I see it as like an artist drawing something in black and shades of grey, not using all the colours available to them, or maybe a poet writing a sonnet. To choose a limited set of technical resources then explore what can be achieved within those constraints is sometimes a beautiful thing.
Most insightful! I really like this.
Busoni's transcription, transplanting the same work to a piano played with two hands, strikes me as a little bit too slick. I'm not saying it's exactly easy, and certainly it still sounds beautiful, but the sense of struggle is lost.
Well, not for me
. It has several challenging passages. But just like the work for violin, it's not all
Bach's original pushes the boundary of what's possible on a violin.
This is absolutely true. However, I see it this way, Bach was inspired to compose a work much larger than
the instrument he was writing for at the moment. The amazing thing (IMHO) about the Chaconne, in fact regarding much of Bach's oeuvre, is that it transcends the medium. This Chaconne, for example is a moving and beautiful work whether performed on violin, piano, guitar or orchestra. I can imagine it beautifully arranged for a capella
choir and thus being performed by living-instruments! This aspect, argues against Rosen's point.
I leave you with this little test (?).
In the "quasi Tromboni" D Major section (but before the "Allegro moderato ma deciso") in both the Busoni transcription and original violin score
, there are two adjacent melody notes that struck me
as peculiarly un-Bach-like in melodic shape. As I investigated it I discovered that given the limitations of the violin, Bach had no choice
but to write it that way. However, given the ample resources of the piano, I re-score the two notes in question to what I believe Bach would have written if he had not suffered the instrumental limitation. Can you identify what two notes these might be?