The Hilliard Ensemble / Christoph Poppen J.S. BACH Morimur

In music of the baroque era it was popular to use the medium of numbers for conveying secrets and riddles, and Bach studies have illuminated many new 'meanings' in his sacred works. Now 'Morimur' explores the coded references, and hidden messages in his solo violin music, opening a window on Bach's thought at a time when he was deeply affected by the sudden and tragic death of his wife, Maria Barbara, in 1720. Building on the research of Professor Helga Thoene, violinist Christoph Poppen and the Hilliard Ensemble have realised a unique project for ECM New Series: They offer a stunning experience by interweaving the verses of the 'hidden chorales' of the Ciaccona with Bach's harmonically complex violin part. (ECM Records)

You are about to hear one of the world’s greatest and best-known pieces in a completely new light. Indeed, you may be about to change your view of the composer whom the entire musical world reveres above all others: Johann Sebastian Bach. The work is the Partita in D Minor for solo violin, and the person responsible for what seems set to be a thorough revision of Bach and his music is a German musicologist by the name of Helga Thoene. The radicality of the rethink Thoene’s work requires is matched by the excitement her discoveries bring. ... Thoene has discovered the presence of a multitude chorales shot through the textures of the Sonatas and Partitas. ... The German violinist Christoph Poppen and the Hilliard Ensemble have just recorded the Partita and “its” chorales on a CD entitled Morimur, for the Munich-based label ECM, presenting the music first separately, and then combining the violin and voices. The effect is stunning. The Chaconne in this new incarnation is one of the most moving things I have heard in years – spookily so, since what you are now hearing hasn’t been heard since the thoughts passed through Bach’s mind. You are, in effect, eavesdropping on the greatest mind in musical history from inside Bach’s own head. (Martin Anderson / Fanfare)

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