skip to Main Content

A feast of Bach!

Rachel Podger (violin) and Corvus Consort (vocal ensemble)

The Corvus Consort joins forces with Rachel Podger in a double-bill of concerts featuring Bach’s six Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, BWV 1001-1006, alongside his six choral Motets, BWV 225-230.

With three motets interspersed amongst three solo violin works in each concert, the fragile beauty of Bach’s writing for solo violin sits in striking relief against the rich and masterful polyphony of the choral motets.

Bach’s six motets BWV 225-230 are widely regarded as some of the greatest works for mixed-voice choir, and are a pillar of the choral repertory. Ranging from four to eight parts, the writing ranges from homophonic chorale settings to intricate fugal writing, and a great deal in between. A fascinating challenge for any choir, the works are a showcase for the range of expression and emotion that can be achieved with voices, and have been studied and admired by composers over several centuries. The motets can be performed either a cappella or with continuo, and appear here with voices alone.

The three Sonatas for solo violin are a set of ‘church sonatas’ each in a typical four-movement form, while the three Partitas are sets of dance-form movements. All six works are a masterclass in writing for violin, as Bach’s meticulously-constructed lines carve out not only beautiful melodies but also the suggestion of counter-melodies and eloquent harmonic progressions. Perhaps one of the most famous sections is the stunning Chaconne in D minor, the last movement of Partita No. 2, which has achieved great acclaim in its own right as a standalone piece. Written around 1720, the six works weren’t published until 1802, after being (supposedly) rescued from a pile of wrapping paper, and Rachel Podger has been one of their most revered modern exponents.

This joint programme is due to have its first outing on two consecutive nights in April 2023 to launch a proposed new chamber music series in Exeter Cathedral.

The six motets and six solo violin works can alternatively be performed over three nights, with two motets, a sonata and a partita in each concert.

Rachel Podger is managed worldwide by Percius Management and this collaboration can be booked either through Tashmina Artists or Percius Management.

Rachel Podger, “the unsurpassed British glory of the baroque violin” (The Times), has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical music periods. She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in October 2015, Gramophone Artist of the Year 2018, and Ambassador for REMA’s Early Music Day 2020. A creative programmer, she is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque. Rachel is Patron for the Continuo Foundation.

The Corvus Consort is a vocal ensemble based in the UK. Founded and directed by Freddie Crowley, the group draws its members from a pool of young professionals in the early stages of their singing careers. With key objectives of musical versatility and innovative programming, the Consort performs in a wide variety of genres and styles, stretching from the Renaissance to the present day, and enjoys a range of instrumental collaborations. Their debut disc, in collaboration with the Ferio Saxophone Quartet is duo for release on Chandos Records in September 2022.

Example programme, if being performed over two nights:

Concert 1

Johann Sebastian Bach – Sonata No. 1 for solo violin in G minor, BWV 1001
Johann Sebastian Bach – Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 225
Johann Sebastian Bach – Partita No. 1 for solo violin in B minor, BWV 1002
Johann Sebastian Bach – Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227
Johann Sebastian Bach – Sonata No. 2 for solo violin in A minor, BWV 1003
Johann Sebastian Bach – Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226

Concert 2

Johann Sebastian Bach – Sonata No. 3 for solo violin in C major, BWV 1005
Johann Sebastian Bach – Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden, BWV 230
Johann Sebastian Bach – Partita No. 3 for solo violin in E major, BWV 1006
Johann Sebastian Bach – Fürchte dich nicht, BWV 228
Johann Sebastian Bach – Partita No. 2 for solo violin in D minor, BWV 1004
Johann Sebastian Bach – Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229
Back To Top