The cycle of six solo Sonatas and Partitas by J.S. Bach is arguably one of the most powerful and most important compositions in musical history. These works have been with Linus Roth since he was nine years old, when he first learned the Gigue from the E major Partita, moving on by the age of twelve to the first Fugue in G minor to tackling at fifteen the Ciaconna, which represents a cosmos in its own right. By seventeen, Roth had finally learned the entire oeuvre for the first time and since then he is fortunate to have been able to grow as a musician through the constant and welcome challenge of interpreting these remarkable works.
Bach did not write ‘Six Solos’ on the cover of the score, but instead wrote ‘Sei Solo’ in Italian, which can have two meanings: the word ‘Sei‘ can be translated both as the number six and also as ‘You are’. ‘You are alone’ - Bach is unlikely to have left something so important to chance or to be playing a simple word game. This announcement – if it is even to be seen as a reminder from the composer to the performer - must be taken seriously and Linus has always viewed it as an invitation to interpret the music as freely as the musical text allows, which for him became a guiding principle in his quest for his own interpretation.
This recording was made during lockdown, in which all of our lives have had to be reduced to a minimum in almost every area. The chance to renew the intense preoccupation with this miraculous music in preparation for the recording was a huge privilege as it allowed Linus an escape into a spiritual freedom which helped him greatly on a personal level at this time.
Not only did Roth's teachers and the interpretations of great violinists have a huge influence on how he plays Bach, but also his preoccupation with the original text and with what is known as ‘historically informed performance practice’, in particular the experience of playing with the type of convex Baroque bow that was used in Bach’s time. Due to its bend and the different weight distribution, it has a different nature to the concave curved bow used today, which leads to a slight decrescendo phrasing where several notes are slurred together towards the tip of the bow. In Linus' opinion, the modern bow suits the modern violin better and enables a wider range of sounds, which is why he tries to translate these Baroque-style experiences to the modern bow.
While the slurs and other details in the musical text were not always adhered to in years gone by, further meticulous examinations of the text have resulted in music editions that faithfully reproduce all the details of Bach’s handwriting, yielding fascinating results.
Bach completed the Six Solo Sonatas and Partitas in 1720 in Koethen when he was appointed conductor of the court there. It was the only office he held in which he was not exclusively committed to ‘musica sacra’. Nevertheless, the three solo Sonatas follow the form of the so- called ‘Sonata da Chiesa’ or Church Sonata. They each consist of four movements in the order slow-fast-slower-fast/er. The first movement is a free prelude in improvisational character, followed by a four-voiced Fugue. The third movement is song-like and the fourth resembles a brilliant Toccata.
Linus Roth, who already received the ECHO KLASSIK Award as "Best Newcomer" of 2006 forhis début CD on the label EMI, has received his second ECHO award in 2017 for a recording of the violin concertos by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with the London Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Sanderling.
Linus Roth has made a name for himself internationally not just with standard repertoire, but also with his discovery or rediscovery of works that have undeservedly fallen into oblivion. He has devoted special attention to the works of Mieczysław Weinberg, both in concerts and the recording studio, being the first violinist to have recorded this composer ́s complete Œuvre on CD. Making Mieczysław Weinberg’s works known to a wider audience is also the aim of the International Weinberg Society, which Linus Roth founded in 2015.
Linus Roth attended the preparatory class of Prof. Nicolas Chumachenco at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany, before going on to study with Prof. Zakhar Bron. Subsequently, he pursued his studies for several years with Prof. Ana Chumachenco. While studying, he held a scholarship from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation
In October 2012, Linus Roth was appointed professor for violin at the “Leopold-Mozart- Zentrum” at Augsburg University and is also the artistic director of the 10th Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition in Augsburg. In addition, Linus Roth is the artistic director of the international festival Ibiza Concerts, which he himself founded, and of the music festival Schwäbischer Frühling in Ochsenhausen, Germany.
Linus Roth plays on the Stradivarius violin “Dancla” from 1703 – a kind loan from the music foundation of the L-Bank Baden-Württemberg.
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.