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Bach Series

Jonas Zschenderlein & Paul Dyer

BACH Nº 22
Jonas Zschenderlein & Paul Dyer perform the Prelude from JS Bach's Sonata in E minor for violin & continuo, BWV 1023

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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)


The modern world is greatly indebted to the mathematical prowess of our ancestors and their curious minds, responsible for uncovering so many of our universe’s hidden truths and the fundamental puzzles still being worked on today. But if mathematics is one of, if not the most powerful tool of humanity for universal understanding and communication (where the study of measurements, numbers, and space results in profound and often unexpected insights), then music is surely the supreme expression of emotion, the unknowable, and what many call the divine.

Johann Sebastian Bach is a deserving member of this erudite elite. In 1747 during the later stages of his life, he became an active member of a small academy called Correspondirende Societät der Musicalischen Wissenschaften (Correspondence Society of Musical Sciences), a society dedicated to the connections between science and music across fields such as theology, mathematics, medicine and ethnomusicology. Bach’s own contributions were in the form of several of his most important late works: The Musical Offering, Canonic Variations on ‘Von Himmel Hoch’, and The Art of Fugue, to name a few.

The extensive study of Bach’s music has provided us with essential examples and guidelines for interpreting the language of 18th century music. Understanding this language unlocks a greater comprehension of the Baroque world view, and Bach’s probing mind was more capable than any before or after at expressing and balancing what was known as Affektenlehre (the Doctrine of the Affections) and Figurenlehre (the Doctrine of Figures). In other terms, Bach’s music masterfully exploits the rhythm and harmony observable in the structure of our universe to both evoke and describe the hidden, internal torment of emotions familiar to each and every human being. But how does the music of a man who died almost 300 years ago, who worked and lived his entire life in just a tiny part of the world, excite our emotions, our curiosity, and speak so effortlessly and fundamentally of love, death, grief, joy and life?

Unlike Jonas Zschenderlein‘s previous Bach Series release for Brandenburg One, this short prelude does not come from JS Bach’s famous collection of works for solo violin. Improvisatory in nature, most preludes at Bach’s time would not have been extensively written out as is the case here.

Accompanying Jonas is Paul Dyer on the chamber organ. The role of the continuo part is reduced to a single note, a drone that warms the space for the expressive, Italianate violin part which can be interpreted in many different ways. The approach taken by Jonas and Paul is striking, and Jonas persuasively works through the prelude by starting with a slow tempo and building gradually, getting faster and faster along with the increasingly dissonant upper part. This is a typical feature of Baroque performance meant to raise the heartbeat and stir our emotions.

Program Notes: Joanna Butler & Hugh Ronzani, 2021
Image Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021




Discover More

Bach's Universe

Enter Bach’s universe this August. 

Bach's Universe is an exclusive new digital-only Baroque music film by Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Viewers will enter the heart of the orchestra with stunning cinematography that offers unique insight into the interplay and invention of Baroque music performance.

Directed by Stef Smith, this cinematic new production stars radiant German Baroque violinist Jonas Zschenderlein who delivers an impassioned performance of Bach's Violin Concerto in E major in his Australian debut. 

Spanning intimate instrumental works and immersive orchestral offerings, Bach’s Universe includes the timeless Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3 and Prelude No. 10 in E minor, BWV 855 from the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier.  

Buy your tickets at: https://brandenburg.com.au/concerts/2021/bachs-universe/


Born and raised in Koblenz, Germany, Jonas Zschenderlein started to play the violin at the age of 5 and at just 11 years old he began the Baroque violin. As a teenager he was already playing with professional early music groups, and at this time he also founded his own ensemble 4 Times Baroque.

Between 2008 and 2014 Jonas was one of the leaders of the Baroque youth orchestra Bachs Erben, which performs without a conductor and is coached by members of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

As a member of the Baroque ensemble Concerto +14, he was awarded a scholarship at the German Music Competition (Deutscher Musikwettbewerb) 2012 in Bonn and was chosen for the 57th Federal Selection of Concerts for Young Artists (BAKJK).

Today, Jonas plays regularly with many early music ensembles throughout Europe such as Gaechinger Cantorey (Bachakademie Stuttgart), The English Concert, Dunedin Consort, Dorothee Oberlinger (Ensemble 1700), and Il Pomo d’Oro, and he is in great demand as a leader. Concert tours have taken him all over Europe, as well as to Japan, Korea, China, USA, Canada and South America. He has performed – often as leader or soloist – at Carnegie Hall, the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Musikverein Vienna, Philharmonie de Paris and in nearly all the major concert venues in Germany.

Jonas studied modern violin from 2009 until 2013 with Professor Ariadne Daskalakis and Sebastian Gottschick at the University of Music and Dance (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz) in Cologne.

Studying the Baroque violin has always been an important part of his life, bringing him to the CNSMDP (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris) with Professor François Fernandez, and to the University of Music in Würzburg with Prof. Dr. Pauline Nobes and Dr. Tassilo Erhardt.

Another great influence for Jonas has been close collaborations with musicians such as Riccardo Minasi, Petra Müllejans, Maurice Steger and Hans-Christoph Rademann.

Together with the harpsichord player Alexander von Heißen, he has recorded a solo album of violin sonatas by Bach, Corelli, Westhoff and Montanari, which was released to great critical acclaim on the label Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony in 2018.

Jonas is a passionate cyclist and gets inspiration for his work while riding his bike in the mountains.

Biography: Jonas Zschenderlein, 2021
Image Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

Photo Credit Georges Antoni 2019


Paul Dyer is one of Australia’s leading specialists in period performance.

Paul co-founded the Brandenburg in 1989 after completing postgraduate studies at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague and has been Artistic Director and conductor since that time. He is a performing artist comfortable in his unique music arena – whether working in ancient music, contemporary music, opera, with artists such as circus performers, contemporary dance, or visual art. His busy performing schedule in Europe, Asia, the USA and Canada over the years has synchronised perfectly alongside his bold stage work in Australia.

Paul is an inspiring teacher and has been a staff member at various conservatories throughout the world. In 1995 he received a Churchill Fellowship and he has won numerous international and national awards for his CD recordings with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Choir, including the 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2010 ARIA Awards for Best Classical Album.

Paul has performed with many international soloists including Andreas Scholl, Cyndia Sieden, Marc Destrubé, Hidemi Suzuki, Stefano Montanari, Xavier De Maistre, Shunske Sato, Maurice Steger, Riccardo Minasi, Yvonne Kenny, Emma Kirkby, Philippe Jaroussky and many others. In 1998 he made his debut in Tokyo with countertenor Derek Lee Ragin, leading an ensemble of Brandenburg soloists, and in August 2001 Paul toured the orchestra to Europe with guest soloist Andreas Scholl. In 2015, he was featured on the soundtrack of the James Bond 007 movie, Spectre.

A passionate cook, entertainer, foodie, teacher, swimmer and traveler, he is friends with people and artists from Istanbul to India and Japan to Italy, and creates a unique platform for overseas performing artists to work with him and the Brandenburg in Australia. Among his list of achievements, Paul was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013 for his ‘distinguished service to the performing arts in Australia’. Paul is Patron of St Gabriel’s School for Hearing Impaired Children. In 2003 Paul was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for his services to Australian society and the advancement of music, and in 2010 Paul was awarded the Sydney University Alumni Medal for Professional Achievement.

View an interview with Paul Dyer here

Biography: Paul Dyer, 2020
Image Credit: Georges Antoni, 2019 


My violin was made by the most famous maker of all time, called “Anonymous”.

Not only is the maker unknown, but it actually is a “pasticcio” violin, built together from several instruments. Apparently, most of its parts are from Northern Italy, which is known for producing good sounding instruments. Also, the original parts of the violin were most likely made in the 18th century, so it definitely is an old instrument. I cannot even tell which luthier put the different parts of this violin together, but whoever it was did a pretty good job at finding matching pieces.

When I started to devote myself to Baroque playing during my teenage years more and more, I naturally came to the point where I wanted to have my own Baroque violin. I was about to buy a newly built instrument, but then I started swapping violins with a friend of mine during an orchestra project. He had the now famous “Northern Italian Pasticcio Violin” at that time, and I was immediately impressed by its extremely dark and mysterious sound. We both ended up buying each other’s instruments…

Instrument Notes: Jonas Zschenderlein, 2021
Image Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021


The selection above of the Prelude from the Sonata in E minor for violin & continuo, BWV 1023 comes from an undated manuscript (c. 1720-32) in the hand of Dresden based copyist Johann Gottfried Grundig. The manuscript is currently held in the Saxon State and University Library Dresden.

Image Credit: Saxon State and University Library Dresden


Born 21 March 1685 in Eisenach
Died 28 July 1750 in Leipzig
Childhood (1685–1703)
Weimar, Arnstadt, and Mühlhausen (1703–1708)
Return to Weimar (1708–1717)
Cöthen (1717–1723)
Leipzig (1723–1750)

Image Credit: Berlin State Library 


APA is proud to support the Brandenburg Bach Series. Arts and entertainment are important to Australia’s diverse culture and economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic these sectors and the artists, musicians, creatives and makers at its core, have been particularly hard hit. Innovation like this online series of recitals is evidence of their innovation and resilience. It will sustain and broaden audiences for this music long into the future.

Image Credit: Katelyn Jane-Dunn, 2020

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Paul Dyer Harpsichord

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Monique O'Dea Baroque Viola

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Joanna Butler performs the Sarabande from JS Bach's English Suite No. 3 in G minor, BWV 808


Matthew Greco Baroque Violin

Matthew Greco performs the Allegro from Sonata No. 2 in A minor for solo violin, BWV 1003


Anthea Cottee Baroque Cello

Anthea Cottee performs the Courante & Sarabande from JS Bach's Suite No. 1 in G major for solo cello, BWV 1007


Mikaela Oberg Baroque Flute

Mikaela Oberg performs the Corrente from JS Bach's Partita in A minor for solo flute, BWV 1013


Marianne Yeomans Baroque Viola

Marianne Yeomans performs the Allemanda from JS Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004, transcribed for viola in G minor


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Rafael Font performs the Grave & Fuga from JS Bach's Sonata No. 2 in A minor for solo violin, BWV 1003


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Melissa Farrow Baroque Flute

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Tommie Andersson Gallichon

Tommie Andersson performs the Sarabande from JS Bach's Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002, transcribed for Gallichon


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Paul Dyer performs the Prelude No. 1 in C major & Improvisation, BWV 846 from JS Bach's The Well‑Tempered Clavier, Book 1