ENJOY THE VIDEO

To explore more Brandenburg content, simply click the button below to return to the main gallery page.

To browse the content on the main gallery page, simply scroll down and slide across the Bach, Stage and Conversation Series video carousels and click the video that you would like to watch.

Back to Gallery

Bach Series

Matthew Greco Baroque Violin

BACH Nº 19
Matthew Greco performs the Allemanda & Double from Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002

Enjoyed this performance?
Share it with friends.

PROGRAM NOTES

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

PARTITA NO. 1 IN B MINOR, BWV 1002
Allemanda & Double

As with many influential figures throughout history, during the latter stages of JS Bach’s life opinions of his character and work had become polarised.  In 1737, composer and theoretician Johann Adolf Scheibe openly criticised Bach in his weekly journal in the name of simplicity and melodiousness, accusing him of abusing overcomplicated counterpoint and harmonic structures in his music.

Quote
This great man would be the admiration of entire nations if he had more pleasantness, and if he did not allow a bombastic and confused style to suffocate naturalness in his pieces, or obscure their beauty through excessive artifice.
JOHANN ADOLF SCHEIBE

The criticisms levelled by Scheibe did not go without reply, and in the following year the virtue of JS Bach’s music would receive a thorough and academic defence from Johann Abraham Birnbaum, a professor of rhetoric at Leipzig University situated some 500m from St Thomas Church where Bach was employed at the time. The resulting dispute would become known as the Scheibe-Birnbaum affair and to this day is recognised as one of the most important documents regarding the reception of Bach’s music before his death.

Throughout his own research, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Matthew Greco has also formulated ideas regarding JS Bach’s music that are in stark opposition to those forwarded by Scheibe nearly 300 years ago:

Quote
As historical performers, it is our job to continually ask questions about the function of music in which we have chosen to specialise. In the case of JS Bach’s collection of Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, we are dealing with works whose function is to portray all the richness of harmony and multi-voiced texture that is characteristic of Bach’s music, on an instrument that is primarily melodic.  This approach makes it clear that Bach is pushing the violin to the limits of its technical and expressive capabilities. Once again when looking at function, Bach adds to this already considerable technical feat, the task of presenting these works in the model of the French and Italian dance forms.
MATTHEW GRECO

WHAT TO LISTEN FOR

The opening Allemanda & Double frames the beautiful dissonances of the key of B minor in a rather simple textural progression, where more vertical chords become flowing triplets, then finally semiquaver arpeggios in the Double. This development is very clear in the score itself, and Matthew Greco’s masterful control of time helps render it audible. Here is what he has to say about the music:

 

Quote

What is important to me and part of my decision to record these movements, is the essential character of this music. The darkness and anguish brought on by the dissonant and unexpected chords of this partita resemble the religious gravitas of works like Bach’s aria Es ist vollbracht! from the St John Passion, which is also in the key of B minor. This incredible aria is sung right before Jesus’ death on the cross, as he cries: 

It is accomplished!
What comfort for all suffering souls!
The night of sorrow
now reaches its final hours.
The hero from Judah triumphs in his might
and brings the strife to an end.
It is accomplished!

 

Program Notes: Joanna Butler & Hugh Ronzani, 2021
Image Credit: Katelyn-Jane Dunn, 2020

 


BACH SERIES PRESENTING PARTNER

Listen

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 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/

MATTHEW GRECO

In 2013, Matthew Greco graduated from the Royale Conservatoire of The Hague, The Netherlands and since then has continued to nurture his love of the Baroque and Classical violin through his employment as a soloist, concertmaster and core member of some of the world’s leading period instrument ensembles.

Matthew began studying violin at the age of twelve with Lisa Buchanan Nihill in Sydney at St Pius X College, Chatswood where he developed an early appreciation of Baroque music and period performances.

During his studies with Professor Janet Davies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, he furthered his skills on the modern and Baroque violin. Pursuing this interest professionally, at the age of nineteen, Matthew was engaged by Australia’s leading period orchestras - the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Pinchgut Opera. After establishing a successful career in Australia, he further pursued his passion for historical performance in The Netherlands, studying with world-renowned Baroque violinists Ryo Terakado and Enrico Gatti.

Matthew has been a regular member of Pinchgut Opera since his first performance in 2006; he has performed in 21 productions and has been a concertmaster since 2015. He performs in a variety of ensembles and festivals, including the Australian Haydn Ensemble, Salut! Baroque, De Nederlandse Bachvereniging (Netherlands Bach Society), Les Talens Lyriques (Paris), Festival D’Aix en Provence, Opera Nationale de Paris, and Capella Mediterranea (Switzerland). Matthew is a founding member of the Sydney-based Baroque ensemble, The Muffat Collective.  

Also an enthusiastic violin teacher, Matthew currently enjoys his work at Santa Sabina College as ensemble conductor and teacher in the senior and junior school instrumental programs. Having recently become a teacher of Baroque violin at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, he very much enjoys sharing his knowledge of historical performance practices with young professionals including those in the Brandenburg’s education program.

Matthew’s approach to music is one governed by his commitment to producing a unique and individual sound based on his knowledge of historical performance. He believes that seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music is full of vitality, energy and emotions that speak to us now as much as they did in the past.

Biography: Matthew Greco, July 2020

BAROQUE VIOLIN

David Christian Hopf – 1760
Quittenbach, Germany
Restored to its original condition by luthier Simon Brown in 2006

I was extremely fortunate to be able to purchase my Baroque violin at the age of nineteen from luthier Simon Brown. I will always be grateful that this instrument has seen me through my entire education and performing career throughout Europe and Australia. This is so often not the case for performers who have to ‘upgrade’ their equipment at various stages of their career.

The instrument was formerly owned by the restorer and luthier who was given the instrument from his teacher and master luthier in Cremona during his studies there. Simon has beautifully restored this old instrument to its original condition and I’m eternally grateful to him for selling it to me at a very reasonable price at the beginning of my career when I needed a good quality instrument to learn on.

Ubiquitous in the violin world, the Hopf name is stamped on a vast number of undistinguished violins.

Of the Hopf family of luthiers, David Christian is rated rather highly or as one of the better makers. These violins are known for their unusual ‘square’ shaping. Sadly, they are not known for their particularly refined features and sound, especially compared with their Italian contemporaries. In any case, when I first played this violin I was immediately struck by its earthy and warm depth of sound, as well as its curious shape. I continue to love it to this day for its eccentric features and hope to continue our fruitful partnership in the years to come.

 

Instrument Notes: Matthew Greco, 2020
Image Credit: Katelyn-Jane Dunn, 2020

FROM THE MANUSCRIPT

The image above of the opening Allemanda from Partita No. 1 in B minor comes from the 1720 autograph manuscript of Bach’s collection of Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. The manuscript is currently held in the Berlin State Library.

Image: Berlin State Library

FROM THE MANUSCRIPT II

The excerpt above of the Double following the Allemanda from Partita No. 1 in B minor comes from the 1720 autograph manuscript of Bach’s collection of Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. The manuscript is currently held in the Berlin State Library.

Image: Berlin State Library

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

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 

FROM OUR PRESENTING PARTNER APA GROUP

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

Keep watching

2m

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

8m

Jonas Zschenderlein Baroque Violin

BACH Nº 21
Jonas Zschenderlein performs the Siciliana & Presto from JS Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin, BWV 1001

5m

Marianne Yeomans Baroque Viola

BACH Nº 20
Marianne Yeomans performs the Sarabanda from JS Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004, transcribed for viola in G minor

7m

Mikaela Oberg Baroque Flute

BACH Nº 18
Mikaela Oberg performs the Allemande from JS Bach's Partita in A minor for solo flute, BWV 1013

4m

Tommie Andersson Gallichon

BACH Nº 17
Tommie Andersson performs the Double (from Sarabande) from Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002, transcribed for Gallichon

10m

Ben Dollman Baroque Violin

BACH Nº 16
Ben Dollman performs the Largo & Allegro assai  from JS Bach's Sonata No. 3 in C major for solo violin, BWV 1005

4m

Monique O'Dea Baroque Viola

BACH Nº 15
Monique O’Dea performs the Tempo di Borea from Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002, transcribed for viola in E minor

5m

Melissa Farrow Baroque Flute

BACH Nº 14
Melissa Farrow performs the Sarabande from JS Bach's Partita in A minor for solo flute, BWV 1013

4m

Paul Dyer Harpsichord

BACH Nº 13
Paul Dyer performs the Allemande from JS Bach's French Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 815

4m

James Armstrong Baroque Violin

BACH Nº 12
James Armstrong performs the Preludio from JS Bach's Partita No. 3 in E major for solo violin, BWV 1006

3m

Monique O'Dea Baroque Viola

BACH Nº 11
Monique O'Dea performs the Double  (from Sarabande)  from JS Bach's Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002, transcribed for viola in E minor

4m

Joanna Butler Harpsichord

BACH Nº 10
Joanna Butler performs the Sarabande from JS Bach's English Suite No. 3 in G minor, BWV 808

4m

Matthew Greco Baroque Violin

BACH Nº 9
Matthew Greco performs the Allegro from Sonata No. 2 in A minor for solo violin, BWV 1003

6m

Anthea Cottee Baroque Cello

BACH Nº 8
Anthea Cottee performs the Courante & Sarabande from JS Bach's Suite No. 1 in G major for solo cello, BWV 1007

4m

Mikaela Oberg Baroque Flute

BACH Nº 7
Mikaela Oberg performs the Corrente from JS Bach's Partita in A minor for solo flute, BWV 1013

6m

Marianne Yeomans Baroque Viola

BACH Nº 6
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

13m

Rafael Font Baroque Violin

BACH Nº 5
Rafael Font performs the Grave & Fuga from JS Bach's Sonata No. 2 in A minor for solo violin, BWV 1003

5m

Anthea Cottee Baroque Cello

BACH Nº 4
Anthea Cottee performs the Allemande from JS Bach's Suite No. 1 in G major for solo cello, BWV 1007

4m

Melissa Farrow Baroque Flute

BACH Nº 3
Melissa Farrow performs the Bourée Anglaise from JS Bach's Partita in A minor for solo flute, BWV 1013

4m

Tommie Andersson Gallichon

BACH Nº 2
Tommie Andersson performs the Sarabande from JS Bach's Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002, transcribed for Gallichon

6m

Paul Dyer Harpsichord

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