Music for solo violin which inspired Bach.

Violinists are cursed and blessed by the music left behind by highly emotive virtuosi. These were violinists after all - you can see the over sensitive, ‘difficult’ and over-the-topness bursting out of the manuscripts!

Composer-violinist Biber’s evocative, mesmerizing passacaglia - originally performed during the mass for the feast of the Guardian Angel in 1676 - sets the scene. With each new piece, another violinist speaks in his own ‘soul voice’ - providing the next stepping stone in the story, which culminates in one of J. S. Bach’s most influential and famous works. The soul-searching d minor Partita, the chaconne of which he composed as a homage to his wife who tragically died at the age of 35, brings the programme to a climactic ending.

Penelope Spencer - violin


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644 - 1704)
Passacaglia G minor

Johann Paul von Westhoff (1656 - 1705)
Suitte IV C major

Johann Georg Pisendel (1687 - 1755)
Solo sonata a minor

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Partita d minor BWV 1004

Listening Cards