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Partitas for Saxophone
Johann Sebastian Bach

Raaf Hekkema

Partitas for Saxophone

Price: € 20.95 14.67
Format: SACD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917264821
Catnr: CC 72648
Release date: 24 October 2014
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20.95 14.67
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917264821
Catalogue number
CC 72648
Release date
24 October 2014

"Hekkema is much more than a virtuoso: he reinvents Bach's pieces."

De Volkskrant, 15-3-2018
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Artist(s)
Composer(s)
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About the album

Raaf Hekkema: In 2012 I recorded, purely for personal use, all the Bach solo arrangements I had made up until then, including the first four movements of the second partita. After listening to them I realized that my self-imposed decree to keep my hands off the chaconne from that partita, suddenly no longer seemed etched in stone. So I took a stab at producing a convincing version of it. Following my Paganini formula, I first made an ‘analytical’ version: one that would do justice to the construction of the music, disregarding all thoughts of what might be fun to play. An important step, because otherwise you end up taking the instrumental route too soon. Bach’s music is implicitly polyphonic: a melody usually contains more than one voice, played in turn and together forming the melodic curve as a whole. The register and relationship between the voices largely determine the buildup of tension in the music. This applies to nearly all of Bach’s music, but in the violin works he often uses multiple strings simultaneously to explicitly underscore the polyphony. So first I had to find a credible solution for the issue of polyphony. After that the other me would get his chance: the saxophone player who had free rein to determine what sounded good and, perhaps more importantly, where the advantages of the saxophone over the violin (arpeggios, for instance, are easier to play on the saxophone) could be put to good use. In this inner collaboration, the analyst constantly had the upper hand, for we were talking about a meticulously constructed work by the greatest musical architect ever. The resulting version satisfied both my identities: the analyst and the instrumentalist. With a sense of liberation I set to work on the remaining movements of the partitas, which went with hardly a hitch.
Creatieve en virtuoze arrangementen waarin de intenties van Bach overeind blijven
In 2012, twee jaar voor de opname van dit album, speelde de vermaarde saxofonist Raaf Hekkema al met het idee voor het opnemen van zijn Bach solo arrangementen. Voor persoonlijk gebruik had hij de arrangementen al opgenomen, waaronder ook de eerste vier delen van de Tweede Partita, maar nadat hij een jaar later deze nog eens beluisterde besloot hij dat een nieuwe, betere opname vereist was.

Zijn methode was tweeledig: eerst maakte hij een analytische versie die recht doet aan de constructie van de muziek. Een belangrijke stap, aangezien Bachs muziek impliciet meerstemmig is: de melodieën bevatten vaak meer dan één stem die beurtelings te horen zijn, in plaats van tegelijkertijd. De verhouding tussen deze twee stemmen vormen doorgaans de opbouw en de spanningsboog van de muziek. In het vertalen van deze muziek naar één instrument, was het dus van belang dat er een oplossing gevonden zou worden voor deze meerstemmigheid.
Na deze analytische versie kon Hekkema zijn eigen creativiteit op de muziek loslaten om te bepalen wat goed klinkt en waar de saxofoon op een andere manier ingezet kan worden dan de viool. Het resultaat is een wonderlijk virtuoos arrangement waarin de intenties van Bach gewaarborgd blijven.

Of Raaf Hekkema nu Paganini’s vioolconcerten vertaalt naar de saxofoon of stukken speelt, die geschreven zijn voor het instrument, hij behoudt een avontuurlijke blik op de muziek. Als solist heeft hij door de jaren heen met diverse orkesten gespeeld en meerdere albums opgenomen. Hij is tevens medeoprichter van het Calefax Rietkwintet.
Ralf Hekkema ist berühmt für seine gewagten Arrangements klassischer Meisterwerke wie Paganinis Capricci. In dieser Welt-Erstaufnahme von Bachs Violin-Partiten, arrangiert für Saxophon, erkundet der Virtuose die technischen und spirituellen Tiefen Bachs großartiger Werke mit einer ganz neuen, mutigen Perspektive: "Ich habe zuerst eine analytische Version gemacht, eine, die der Konstruktion der Musik gerecht wird," verrät Hekkema. "Dann war mein anderes Ich, der Saxophonist dran, der völlig frei entscheiden konnte, was gut klingt, und - vielleicht noch wichtiger - wo die Vorteile des Saxophons über die Violine zum Tragen kommen. Das Ergebnis hat meine beiden Identitäten zufrieden gestellt" - und es wird auch Sie begeistern!

Artist(s)

Raaf Hekkema (saxophone)

Multiple prize-winner Raaf Hekkema has an adventurous spirit. Whether he plays Paganini’s violin concerto with orchestra, explores microtones on the saxophone, unravels the inhumanly complex mathematical musical puzzles that Conlon Nancarrow wrote for the pianola – Hekkema doesn’t bat an eye. Performing mainly his own arrangements, he gives approximately 100 concerts per year the world over. Hekkema has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras and has given many international masterclasses. The solo CD ‘Paganini Caprices for Saxophone’ (MDG, 2006) earned him the German Echo Klassik ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ title. His compositions and arrangements are published by Schott Music, CalefaxEDITION and through his website. He has released three Bach albums with Challenge Classics: Bach Partitas (2014), Bach Suites (2018) and...
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Multiple prize-winner Raaf Hekkema has an adventurous spirit. Whether he plays Paganini’s violin concerto with orchestra, explores microtones on the saxophone, unravels the inhumanly complex mathematical musical puzzles that Conlon Nancarrow wrote for the pianola – Hekkema doesn’t bat an eye. Performing mainly his own arrangements, he gives approximately 100 concerts per year the world over. Hekkema has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras and has given many international masterclasses. The solo CD ‘Paganini Caprices for Saxophone’ (MDG, 2006) earned him the German Echo Klassik ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ title. His compositions and arrangements are published by Schott Music, CalefaxEDITION and through his website. He has released three Bach albums with Challenge Classics: Bach Partitas (2014), Bach Suites (2018) and Bach Solo (2023). To this end, he has had lessons with early music specialists such as Vera Beths, Lucy van Dael, Roel Dieltiens and Ton Koopman. For his artistic merits Hekkema was admitted to the Society of the Arts of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020.
Hekkema is co-founder of Calefax Reed Quintet (since 1985), for whom he has arranged and composed hundreds of works, many of which have been recorded. Calefax’s repertoire spans nine centuries, Western and non-Western, from improv to contemporary classical. Additionally, the quintet has initiated projects with distinguished artists from the theatre, dance, film, animation worlds as well as those with diverse musical backgrounds. Calefax has taken lessons from, or worked with, experts in the field of early music, including Paul Van Nevel, Bartold and Sigiswald Kuijken, Jan-Willem de Vriend and Frans Brüggen. The ensemble plays at prominent concert venues worldwide, from South America to Japan, appears regularly on international radio and television, and has issued more than 20 albums. Calefax has also been the recipient of various prizes and distinctions. Thanks to the decades-long co-operation with the members of Calefax, all of whom studied with prominent wind players from the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Hekkema’s playing has taken on a musical character unlike any other saxophonist’s. Raaf Hekkema teaches classical saxophone at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague.
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Composer(s)

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.  Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.  
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Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.


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Press

Hekkema is much more than a virtuoso: he reinvents Bach's pieces.
De Volkskrant, 15-3-2018

5 tuning-forks! Diapason - July 2016
Diapason, 01-7-2016

Interview about the music of Bach with saxophonist Raaf Hekkema
Arpeggio, 10-4-2015

3*** ['']...Thoughtful transcriptions for saxophone of solo Bach...['']
BBC Music Magazine, 01-2-2015

Exciting
Akapelle, 05-1-2015

"One is immediately carried away by his brilliant performance of the second partita." "Virtuosic achievement of Raaf Hekkema"  
Opus Klassiek, 01-1-2015

CD of the week on Radio 4
Radio 4 CD van de Week, 19-11-2014

"One forgets that the saxophone didn't exist in Bach's time, which underscores the level of Hekkema." "You hold your breath, but Hekkema eliminates any reserve. There are even places where the saxophone beats the violin. Incredible."
Het Parool, 30-10-2014

Play album Play album
01.
Partita II , BWV 1004: Allemanda
04:24
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
02.
Partita II , BWV 1004: Corrente
02:30
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
03.
Partita II , BWV 1004: Sarabanda
03:38
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
04.
Partita II , BWV 1004: Giga
04:17
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
05.
Partita II , BWV 1004: Ciaccona
13:23
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
06.
Partita III , BWV 1006: Preludio
03:44
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
07.
Partita III , BWV 1006: Loure
03:57
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
08.
Partita III , BWV 1006: Gavotte en rondeau
02:41
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
09.
Partita III , BWV 1006: Menuet I – Menuet II
04:08
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
10.
Partita III , BWV 1006: Bourrée
01:28
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
11.
Partita III , BWV 1006: Gigue
01:43
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
12.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Allemanda
05:39
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
13.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Double
03:04
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
14.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Corrente
03:36
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
15.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Double-Presto
03:48
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
16.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Sarabande
03:23
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
17.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Double
02:54
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
18.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Tempo di Borea
03:04
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
19.
Partita I, BWV 1002: Double
03:40
(Johann Sebastian Bach ) Raaf Hekkema
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