On Air Now
Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 5pm - 7pm
Find out more about Bach's dazzling piece which remains the pinnacle of the solo violin repertoire.
J. S. Bach's Chaconne - more correctly named in Italian, Ciaccona - is the final movement of the composer's Partita No. 2 in D minor. But this one piece is longer than the combined duration of the previous four movements in the suite.
The Chaconne remains to this day one of the most technically and musically demanding pieces for the violin, incorporating every aspect of violin technique known during Bach's time. The great violinist Yehudi Menuhin called the piece "the greatest structure for solo violin that exists" and Joshua Bell has said that it is "not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history. It's a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect."
Since Bach's time, several different transcriptions of the piece have been made for other instruments, particularly for the piano - by Busoni and Raff - and for the piano left-hand, by Brahms. The great guitarist Segovia arranged and performed a version of the Chaconne for classical guitar.