Bach’s Partitas: Review by Luigi Magistrelli (The Clarinet Magazine, June 2022)


Professor of Clarinet at the Conservatory of Milano, Luigi Magistrelli reviewed our Opus 1 (transcription for clarinet of the solo violin partitas from J.S. Bach) and Opus 3 (transcription for basset horn of the cello suites from J.S. Bach).

Mr Magistrelli is very enthusiastic about these two publications: “The engraving quality is high, as is the physical aspect of these beautiful publications”.

The complete article:

The clarinet, being the youngest representative of wind instruments, unfortunately has no repertoire coming from the genius J.S Bach. However, his most influential son Carl Philipp Emanuel did write six sonatas with fortepiano, clarinet and bassoon. Frédéric Matagne, Belgian musician, and founder of HDSB Music Publishing, has admired J.S. Bach ever since singing his cantatas. This is the reason he took up this transcription project of major solo works of this outstanding composer for clarinet and its closest « relative, » the basset horn. The Six Suites for solo cello are considered by all musicians to be sublime music and they don’t need an introduction. The basset horn, with its tenor tessitura, is an instrument quite akin to the cello, in my opinion more so than the bass clarinet. Matagne has made a second transcribed version of the same suites, in a separate publication, for both clarinet and bass clarinet. His transcription is based on the original manuscript copied by Anna Magdalena Bach (unfortunately we do not have the original manuscript of J.S. Bach) and the dynamics and articulations are as close as possible to it. The transcriber says in his informative preface that « the articulations marked in the manuscript Partitas for Solo Violin BWV 1002, BWV 1004, BWV 1006 quide the performer in their choices, but it will be up to the player to follow or modify them according to the right taste. » This is also the case for the Sei Solo a violin Senza Basso (Six Solos for Violin Without Bass). The main source used by Matagne was the version copied by Anna Magdalena Bach, with only a few articulation and dynamic indications. A good clarinetist will be able to make their own markings based on historical criteria. These three violin partitas are written for both Bi clarinet (BWV1004) and A clarinet (BWV1002/1006). They are demanding piece on both the technical and musical sides; they can also be a challenge for clarinet players unfamiliar with baroque style. The quality of these two transcriptions is high, as is the engraving and physical aspect of these beautiful publications. HDSB Music Publications also has in its catalog the violin Sonatas BWV1001, 1003 and 1005. We must say bravo to Matagne for this Bach project and we hope that he will continue with more transcriptions.

Luigi Magistrelli

The Clarinet magazine, June 2022

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