Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Through the Mirror of Bach

Music for solo violin by Johann Sebastian Bach and Kaija Saariaho

Elias Gottlob Haussmann


  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): Chaconne from Partita II in D minor, BWV 1004
  • Kaija Saariaho (1952–): Frises for solo violin


The Chaconne from the D minor partita has been a pillar of the violin repertoire for centuries. Rediscovered in the 19th century by Schumann, Brahms and Mendelssohn, the solo works of Bach were given new importance which has since then not ceased increasing.

Through its complexity and uniqueness, the Chaconne became a model of composition; its structure, both formal and harmonic came to rise above all known writing for the violin.

Frises, although composed to be performed next to the Chaconne, is not a mere attempt to simply mirror or accompany Bach. Here, Saariaho has reached to the other side of the mirror, she has learned the lessons one can bear from studying the work of Bach, never ceasing to be true to her own language and using newest resources from the 21st century to come in aid to the violin. And as mystically as the Chaconne appeared, so did Frises, another towering masterpiece, thus showing us what music could sound like... through the mirror of Bach.