Sophie Rosa, acclaimed violinist, gave two wonderful concerts on consecutive evenings in St Mary’s Church covering the entire works for unaccompanied violin by J S Bach. These extraordinary pieces (consisting of three Sonatas and three Partitas) were ground-breaking in their day, and still represent the peak of writing for solo violin.
Sophie played the works with an astonishing assurance and virtuosity that carried the audience effortlessly with her on the journey through the music. And she strengthened the bond with the audience by providing a short but fascinating introduction to each sonata and partita, explaining for instance how Bach was able to write polyphonic music (including complex fugues)on what is basically a monophonic instrument. Sophie also gave examples of things to look out for in each of the works, and this helped the audience to enjoy the music.
St Mary’s church provided a perfect setting for this music. It was wonderful to watch Sophie tackle the complexities of the music standing alone under the chancel arch. And the violin sounded wonderful in the space of the church – full-bodied with just the right amount of reverberation.
The late Queen Elizabeth’s death was announced at the interval of the first concert, and this historic event will shape all our memories of both concerts. It was generally agreed that the Bach unaccompanied sonatas and partitas were perfectly fitted to the solemn occasion. The second concert started with Sophie playing the National Anthem followed by a minute’s silence. After that Sophie played the second Partita in D minor which ends with the famous D minor Chaconne – a huge movement written by Bach to commemorate the death of his mother. It was perfect music for the occasion.
We are very pleased to have welcomed Sophie to play at Winchfield and, based on her brilliance, we look forward to watching her career blossom over the coming years.
The concerts raised £1200 for humanitarian aid for Ukraine.