A Performance Guide for Playing Johann Sebastian Bach's Violin Partita no. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002, Partita no. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004, and Partita no. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 on Alto and Soprano Saxophone
The saxophone is privileged to have a wide variety of repertoire from contemporary composers. Due to its invention in the later half of the nineteenth century, it has no repertoire written by baroque composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach. There are several published arrangements of Bach’s three solo violin partitas including that of Ronald Caravan and Raaf Hekkema. These collections either do not present every movement of each of these three partitas, or they do not present them in their original keys. An advantage to arranging these works in their original keys is that saxophonists have the opportunity to learn more about the works by playing along with recordings of great violinists such as Itzhak Perlman and Hilary Hahn, something that would be very difficult to do if they were not in the original keys. In Ronald Caravan’s Bach for Solo Saxophone, Caravan includes a collection of many unaccompanied works by Bach for saxophone but does not include all of the movements from the three partitas and they are not in the original keys that Bach wrote for. In Raaf Hekkema’s Bach for Saxophone, Hekkema arranges the entirety of the three partitas, however they are not set in the original keys that Bach wrote for. In addition to these points, those collections do not provide information of the life of J.S. Bach, baroque performance practice, mechanics of the baroque violin, baroque dances, and advice on going about the mechanics of these pieces from a saxophonist’s perspective. This information is very useful to a young saxophonist who is trying to fully understand and perform Bach’s three solo violin partitas.