Thoughts about Bach's Sei Solo
A man – he has tears in his eyes - approaches me after a concert; “I never thought a whole evening of a solo violin would be anything like that…wow!”.
This is the reaction of an elderly man in a village church just after hearing me play some of Bach’s ‘Sei Solo’ on my 2013 Bach Pilgrimage. I have to admit that I had worried that the collection of pieces making up this magnum opus for solo violin by the great JS Bach might be too much for an audience of locals attending a fund-raising event. How wrong I was.
I now know that this music - penned some 300 years ago as a response to the sudden loss of a beloved wife – will always (if I do my job properly) bring forth such a response. Why? Because despite its great craft and undeniable appeal to the classical music aficionado, it tells an intensely human story. A story of loss, of aloneness: but a story too of redemption and love. Sei Solo is full of the anguished and inconsolable, but also full of light and perhaps above all, it is full of the dance.
After the sort of awkward silence that follows a confession made between strangers, the elderly gent continues. He tells me that though he isn’t a music connoisseur, the music moved him deeply; and that knowing that it was Bach’s response to the catastrophe of losing a beloved wife made every note fill with meaning.
So come along to a concert of Sei Solo and hear for yourself how Bach managed to bring himself back from the brink and celebrate again the gift of life and love.
The full cycle of six works is spread over two evenings, though each concert can be enjoyed on its own.