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 me 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.
In Bach’s hands, the Partita, a series of linked dance movements, is transformed from music with the specific purpose of entertainment into art music.
Linus Roth, who received the ECHO KLASSIK Award as 'Best Newcomer' 2006 for his début CD on the label EMI, was awarded his second ECHO award in 2017 for his 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 his acclaimed work in core repertoire, but also with his discovery / rediscovery of works that have undeservedly fallen into oblivion. He has devoted special attention to the works of Mieczysław Weinberg, both on the concert platform and the recording studio. Roth's recording of the complete works for violin and piano by Mieczysław Weinberg, released in 2013 by Challenge Classics to wide public and critical acclaim was followed up by recordings of Weinberg’s Violin Concerto with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester and his Concertino with the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn. Both CDs were selected as 'Editor’s Choice' by Gramophone magazine. Making Mieczysław Weinberg’s oeuvre known to a wider audience is also the aim of the International Weinberg Society, which Linus Roth founded in 2015. This association organises and sponsors concerts, readings, exhibitions, interdisciplinary events and publications on the work and life of the Polish-Jewish composer. For the 100th anniversary of Weinberg’s birth in 2019, Linus Roth will curate two days of events dedicated to the composer in the form of six concerts at Wigmore Hall in London. In addition to chamber music works, all of Weinberg’s six sonatas for violin and piano as well as the three sonatas for solo violin will be played, including by Linus Roth himself.
Linus Roth has played as a soloist with many leading orchestras including the Stuttgart State Opera Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn, the German Radio Symphony Orchestras of broadcasters SWR and Berlin, the Orquesta de Cordoba, the Orchestra della Toscana in Florence, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra and the Bruckner Orchester Linz. Conductors with whom Roth has worked include Gerd Albrecht, Frank Beermann, Herbert Blomstedt, Andrey Boreyko, Finnegan Downie Dear, Dennis Russell Davies, Kevin John Edusei, Dan Ettinger, James Gaffigan, Hartmut Haenchen, Domonkos Héja, Antony Hermus, Manfred Honeck, Kirill Karabits, Isaac Karabtchevsky, Mihkel Kütson, Leo McFall, Thomas Sanderling, Konstantin Trinks, and Antoni Wit.
A passionate chamber musician, he has performed fellow musicians such as Nicolas Altstaedt, Gautier Capuçon, Kim Kashkashian, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Albrecht Mayer, Nils Mönkemeyer, Andreas Ottensamer, Benjamin Schmid, Christian Poltéra, Julian Steckel, Markus Schirmer, Julien Quentin, Jens-Peter Maintz, Florian Uhlig, Itamar Golan and Danjulo Ishizaka, among others. He has also worked closely for several years with the Argentinean pianist José Gallardo.
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 at the Universities of Music in Zurich and Munich. Salvatore Accardo, Miriam Fried and Josef Rissin have also been important influences on him. During his studies, Linus Roth held a scholarship from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation.
In October 2012, Linus Roth was appointed Professor of Violin at the 'Leopold-Mozart-Zentrum' at Augsburg University and is also the artistic director of the Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition in Augsburg. In addition, Linus Roth is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Festival Ibiza Concerts and from 2020 on of the music festival Schwäbischer Frühling in Ochsenhausen /Germany Linus Roth plays the Stradivarius violin 'Dancla' from 1703 on kind loan from the music foundation of the L-Bank Baden-Württemberg.
In his free time, Roth enjoys fitness sports of all kinds, travelling, eating out and loves boating around the Mediterranean. He has lived in Munich for many years.
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.