Lausanne Bach Festival – Bach solo violin
Église de Villamont, 20 November 2015
The second of the two festival concerts that I attended was in direct contrast to Messiah: a concert of Bach solo violin music in the intimate surroundings, and attractive acoustic, of the Église de Villamont. Playing the first and third Sonatas and the second Partita, Christine Busch demonstrated a sure grasp of the Bach violin idiom, despite playing what seemed to be a modern violin – or, at least, a violin with what appeared to be a modern set up, complete with tuning aids, chin and shoulder rests, a long finger board, and high bridge.
The opening Adagio of the first Sonata was improvisatory in mood and feel, giving a sensation of Bach trying out ideas – something at the heart of these compositions. The more formal structure of the following Fuga was in contrast to the beautifully lilting Siciliana and the helter-skelter final Presto. The opening Allemande of the second Partita was similarly exploratory in mood, again with contrasting dance movements to follow, with the lively Corrente, delicate Sarabanda and a steadily paced Giga; a worthy introduction to the enormous and extraordinary Ciaccona that concludes the Partita – one of the greatest highlights of western art music. Christine Busch’s performance was outstanding, the complex structure of this monumental work delineated perfectly. The delicacy of her playing was one of the highlights, avoiding the forceful excesses that some violinists seem to relish. She concluded with the third Sonata, again bring a fine sense of contrast between the four movements, notably the languid Largo. An excellent performance.