In Memoriam J.S. Bach

In Memoriam J.S. Bach

Versions:

  • In Memoriam J.S. Bach, Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (or Piano) (2000)
  • In Memoriam J.S. Bach, for Violin and Chamber Ensemble (or Piano) (2011)
  • In Memoriam J.S. Bach, for Viola, String Orchestra and Harpsichord (or Piano Reduction) (2008)
  • Sarabande (In Memory of J.S. Bach), for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (or Piano) (2019)
  • Sarabande (In Memory of J.S. Bach), for Flute, Violin and Piano (or Organ) (2014)
  • Sarabande (In Memory of J.S. Bach), Violin and Piano (or Organ) (2007)
  • Capriccio (In Memory of J.S. Bach), for Septet (2010)
  • Capriccio (In Memory of J.S. Bach), for String Quartet or String Quintet (2000)

Works

Technical Information

There are several versions of In Memoriam J.S.Bach, but the music for the Toccata, Sarabande and Capriccio is basically the same.

In Memoriam J.S.Bach: Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (2000) / Duration – 15:19

  1. Toccata – 3:30
  2. Sarabande – 5:58
  3. Capriccio – 5:51

Solo vn./2(2=picc).1.ehn.1.bcl.2(2=cbn)./2.2.0.0./timp.1perc./strings

(contra bassoon is optional)

In Memoriam J.S.Bach, Partita for Violin and Piano (2000)

In Memoriam J.S.Bach: Sarabande and Capriccio / Duration – 11:49

A) In Memoriam J.S. Bach: Sarabande and Capriccio, for Viola, String Orchestra and Harpsichord (2008) (Harpsichord is optional)

B) In Memoriam J.S. Bach: Sarabande and Capriccio, for Violin and Chamber Ensemble (2011) – Solo Violin, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Harpsichord (Harpsichord is optional)

C) In Memoriam J.S. Bach: Sarabande and Capriccio, for Violin and Piano (2000)

D) In Memoriam J.S. Bach: Sarabande and Capriccio, Viola and Piano (2008)

Sarabande (In Memory of J.S.Bach) / Duration – 5:58

A) Sarabande (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (2019) – Solo Viola, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, and String Orchestra

B) Sarabande (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for Flute, Violin and Piano (or Organ) (2014)

C) Sarabande (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for Violin and Organ (2007)

D) Sarabande (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for Viola and Piano (2008)

Capriccio (In Memoriam J.S.Bach) / Duration – 5:51

A) Capriccio (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for Septet (2010) – Solo Violin, Oboe, Bassoon, Violin 2, Viola, Cello and Harpsichord – (Arranged for original instruments, but can be played by modern instruments; harpsichord part is optional)

B) Capriccio (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for String Quintet (2000) (2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Bass) – (2 versions of the violin I part: advanced and simplified)

C) Capriccio (In Memory of J.S.Bach), for String Quartet (2000) – (2 versions of the violin I part: advanced and simplified)

 

 

Program Notes

In Memoriam J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra

In Memoriam J.S. Bach, Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra by Ronald Royer was written in honour of the 250th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach in 1750. It takes its inspiration from Bach’s structural and compositional mastery, as well as his ability to compose with dazzling virtuosity and humour. The first movement is a Toccata which uses a passacaglia in G minor with a twist- a superimposed 12-tone melody for the solo violin line, heard also in inversion (upside down) and in retrograde (backwards). The Toccata’s second section employs a new 12-tone melodic line as well as scales featuring minor seconds and minor thirds and an “Arab” or North African scale used by Bartok. The music reaches a climax and moves into the second movement, a Sarabande, based on the first two bars of the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. The second part of this movement is more emotional in character and is based on the Allemande from Bach’s Keyboard Partita No. 4 in D major. The composer had some juggling to do with the Allemande, since Bach’s Allemande contained four beats per bar, so one beat from each bar had to be removed to fit the three-beat form of the original Sarabande. The original melody returns at the end of the movement, overlaid with a florid countermelody by the soloist. The third movement is a playful variation of a Bach Gigue, transformed to a classical era rondo form. The main melody is again missing one beat per bar, so it is “in five” and not the traditional six. When this melody is played backwards later in the movement, it seems to sound almost Latin American in character. Finally, the melody returns in a fugato contrapuntal guise, although still in five beats to the bar.

In Memoriam J.S. Bach: Sarabande and Capriccio

In Memoriam J.S. Bach (2011) is a new arrangement of two movements from the Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, composed in 2000 to honor the 250th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach in 1750. In Memoriam takes its inspiration from Bach’s compositional mastery, as well as his ability to compose expressive and virtuosic music.

My Sarabande is based on the first two bars of the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. The second part of this movement is more emotional in character and is based on the Allemande from Bach’s keyboard Partita No. 4 in D major.  I had to do some juggling with the rhythm, since Bach’s Allemande contained four beats per bar. One beat from each bar had to be removed to fit the three-beat form of the Sarabande.  The original melody is heard again at the end of the movement, overlaid by a florid counter-melody by the solo violin.

Capriccio, an Italian word-meaning whim or fancy, was used by Bach as a title of two of his compositions for keyboard. I chose this title to describe a work which combines a more contemporary style with Bach’s compositional techniques, as well as highlighting the humour of these works.

The Capriccio is a playful variation of a Bach Gigue, transformed into a classical era Rondo (ABACABA) form. The original A theme in G minor is written to imitate a Bach Gigue, although the rhythm is irregular, switching between five, six, or seven beats per bar. The B section begins with a darker and smoother version of the A theme, before leading into a series of Bach-like sequences. The C section enters in the new key of E minor and is derived from the first four bars of the A melody, but appears in retrograde (i.e. played backwards). This incarnation of the A theme assumes a Latin American character, as found in the music of Alberto Ginastera. When the A section returns, it is in the form of a Bach Fugato, although the rhythm is still irregular. The returning B and A sections are in an ornamented form, another Bach technique. There follows a short cadenza for the solo violinist, which leads into the final coda section with its homage to Bach’s cadential endings.

Commissioning

A) Capriccio (In Memory J.S. Bach) for String Quartet or Quintet was part of the “New Music for Young Musicians” project, commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre, Ontario Region, and receiving grants from the Canada Council Millennium Arts Fund and Ontario, the Millennium 2000.  This was the first music composed.

B) In Memoriam J.S. Bach, Partita for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, was commissioned by the Toronto Sinfonietta and is dedicated to violinist Catherine Manoukian. The Capriccio was adapted into this work.

In Memoriam J.S. Bach, for Violin and Chamber Ensemble, was first recorded by Conrad Chow for the Premieres album

Recordings:

Reviews:

His In Memoriam J.S. Bach returns the program to a neo-classical (neo-baroque) stance, with a slightly tart modern touch, passages in five and an otherwise updating and impressionistic treatment of the Master-as-inspiration….The works themselves are very refreshing to hear. The roots of the classical and folk past undergo imaginative transformations, so that each work in its own way makes it all new. Each composer has a clear vision of how present and past can transform to a future of repeated pleasure for our appreciative ears….Recommended.” - Gapplegate - classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.com Read More Read More
His In Memoriam, JS Bach is another neo-classical piece....Royer manages to wander away from the old, without the need to be dissonant or overly complex. His writing has wonderful clarity, several gestures coming directly from the violinist that connect it solidly to the tradition of a performer demonstrating their virtuosity.” - barczablog.com, June 28, 2012 Read More Read More