Bach Partita no.2 in D minor - Allemande

June 3, 2012 at 03:43 PM · What are your general thoughts about this piece? (Interpretation, phrasing, etc.)

Replies (30)

June 3, 2012 at 04:12 PM · harder to play in tune as one usually thinks...

June 3, 2012 at 04:29 PM · It shouldn't be too slow, and too romantic!!

It can still be expressive.

June 3, 2012 at 05:40 PM · If we really want to acquire an understanding of the sound and style of Bach's Allemande's we need to broaden our perspective by finding Allemandes in his other works.

Here is the Allemande from the French Suite #1, very similar in style to the D Minor violin Allemande, plaed by Andras Schiff

Here is the prototype. The Allemande from the French Suite #5 played by PIOTR ANDERSZEWSKI

Both of these performances are somewhat on the fast side, but nevertheless it is a welcome antidote to the unstylistically slow tempo taken by so many violinists.

June 3, 2012 at 06:57 PM · So what tempo do you prefer?

June 3, 2012 at 07:26 PM · I'd prefer andante over against adagio.

June 3, 2012 at 08:20 PM · I prefer the tempo just a tiny bit slower, but the style on both these recordings is exquisite.

June 3, 2012 at 10:44 PM · Greetings,

I prefer the slightly faster tempos on the whole.

The slower interpretation unbalances the whole partita in my opinion. From an interpretive perspective one needs to have an -absolutely- clear idea of how you want to break up the phrases. Even if you are wrong this is better than oust playing through as though it were a big blob. Find the note or chords that you believe is the apex of the pieces, where you want to generate the most passion. Scale everything in relation to this one point.

My favorite opening fingering for safety, musicality and intonation is the slightly unorthodox

4plus open string.

Move up to third position on the first g of the d string.

Best wishes,


June 4, 2012 at 04:13 AM · Buri, great idea, that first phrase can be hard to get into tune!

If you listen to the professionals, Hilary Hahn's tempo is about the slowest you will find. It seems a bit slow to me. Great recordings of this movement include Milstein, Szigeti, Mintz, and Jansen.

On the other hand many of the sonatas also start with a slow movement (Adagio or Grave) so perhaps a slower movement preceding the Corrente is in keeping with the rest of the set?

When I started playing this piece -- my first unaccompanied Bach -- my teacher warned me, "You will learn a lot about your violin." That was so true.

June 4, 2012 at 06:42 AM · "My favorite opening fingering for safety, musicality and intonation is the slightly unorthodox

4plus open string.

Move up to third position on the first g of the d string."

Oh dear Buri, I do that fingering, so I must be unorthodox too, even if like you, only slightly!!

June 4, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Greetings,

that fingering was used by Busch (not Kate) so perhaps we are an example of a third in the hand being worth two in the Busch. Or something like that....



June 4, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Kate tried her new fingerings on me but I'm afraid I got the giggles ...

The second part of this Allemande Buri, do you start on a 2nd finger 3rd pos with open E and down to a 2 on first F in bar one?

June 4, 2012 at 03:49 PM · Paul Deck,

Speaking of Hilary Hahn, I was always told to avoid listening to her Allemande and her Bach in general because she uses so much vibrato. She vibrates on almost every note. How do you feel about the usage of vibrato?

June 4, 2012 at 04:03 PM · I think the best strategy is to listen to a variety of recordings and see what features speak to you most eloquently. Baroque performance tends not to use vibrato, but that should not be dispositive of how you choose to play the piece. While in some sense a period performance, to the extent we can ascertain how it was done, has some aura of being "correct" or "right" on a theoretical level, that does not mean it is magic or we like it or it rings true to us. So, listen to a bunch and see what you think works best.

June 4, 2012 at 05:11 PM · Its so difficult to find the correct and at the same time individual style for that pieces. In the end it is always that the best technician can make everything credible and convincing. Plus the music of bach, if well played and with some sence for its structure, speaks for itself and doesn't need much "interpretation". When I play bach, i think of the music, the harmonies and melodies. I don't even think of phrasing. It comes naturally when you think in harmonies.

If intonation, bow control/sound and rhythm is good, you don't need much of anything else. Mostly with bach performances its the other way around: You have too much of individual ideas and free interpretation and less sense for correct rhythm and tempo. For exmple the first g-minor movement of the solo sonatas is so seldom played with correct rhythm, that its actually terrifying...

June 4, 2012 at 10:19 PM · Greetings,

Peter,yep, I use that figering. it's so much fresher than mucking about with g string at that point.

I have to confess that although Hh playing Bach is not really my cup of team, as opposed to her awesome Mozart, I can't understand why one would avoid her for using vibrato. Isaac Stern uses it almost continuously and I consider him to be one the finest, and most underrated Bach interpreters in history'. there are many great chacon news out there but his is no1 for Mel.

best wishes,


June 4, 2012 at 10:27 PM · I do agree. And Mr Ricci says that a note without vibrato is a dead note.

June 5, 2012 at 12:21 AM · I just listened to Viktoria Mullova performing the Allemande; I think I'm in love! That was the best interpretation I've ever heard!

June 5, 2012 at 04:11 AM · John Cadd, I like much of Hahn's Bach, but I agree that for this Allemande the tempo is not well regulated and generally too slow.

As for vibrato, well, study the greats carefully, then find your own way. Nobody will ever agree on that.

June 5, 2012 at 06:19 AM · There are many ways of playing this whole Partita and especially the Allemande. There is no "one way," but I personally prefer certain players, and do not like certain performers. I haven't heard HH in this Partita yet, so can't comment.

June 5, 2012 at 01:17 PM · Buri - who is the "Mel" you refer to in your post?

June 5, 2012 at 10:24 PM · Greetings,

Tomb, I have no ideas.

I have a troupe of trained monkeys who hit typewriter keys at random . Wchen a response is generated I post it on v.commie.

Btw although I love my iPad it has the worlds most cretinous wp ever. It's a complete old of junky. Every word is changed into another word for no reason what so every. Probaly the worst product Mac ever marketers.

That's why your name is now a place where dea embodies are rendered and I am reduced to zero ideas in general instead of a specific instances.



June 6, 2012 at 04:49 PM · For really fresh ideas I recommend listening to Glenn Gould playing the Allemande from Partita #4, BWV 828, to be watched on YouTube. No vibrato of course, but nevertheless, what great variety!

June 6, 2012 at 09:07 PM · i borrowed it's.

June 8, 2012 at 04:08 AM · @ tijn vellekoop

Violinists in general can learn a great deal by listening to Gould, especially his Goldberg Variations recordings. These are great studies in the elegance of Bach.

June 9, 2012 at 12:25 PM ·

June 10, 2012 at 05:25 AM · What's the consensus on Gil Shaham. I really like his phrasing. I don't ever hear much about him here. I think he's wonderful to listen to. What do other's think?

June 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM · I seem to prefer a slower tempo. I do not like the faster tempo, though it must not be very slow. I would say around 90 - 95 bpm.

I think it's a wonderful piece.

June 12, 2012 at 01:25 AM · my WIFE,

is dead and there is no more sex for me.

Is the first line?

Always glad to help.


June 12, 2012 at 02:17 AM · Followed by

Until I meet and marry Anna Magdalena Ba-a-a-ah-a-a-ach...

June 13, 2012 at 03:01 AM · Find out who is on the panel, if you can. I have sometimes been told things to do in solo Bach that seemed very counterintuitive and unfortunately just had to grin and bear it.

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