Rhinegold Photo credit: Krisztian Sipos

Melissa Bradshaw

Cellist Joy Lisney plays Bach’s D minor Chaconne in her own transcription for solo cello

8:32, 15th April 2019

Throughout much of its three-hundred year existence, the Chaconne has been a source of fascination for composers and performers on instruments other than the violin, inspiring numerous transcriptions by composers as varied as Johannes Brahms, Feruccio Busoni and Leopold Stokowski.

On a single staff, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and the most powerful feelings. If I were to imagine how I might have made, conceived the piece, I know for certain that the overwhelming excitement and awe would have driven me mad,wrote Johannes Brahms of the Chaconne, composed by J S Bach as the final movement of the Partita No. 2 for solo violin.

A tour-de-force of instrumental ingenuity, musicianship and virtuosity, cellist and composer Joy Lisney’s own arrangement is the latest response to the Chaconne and attempts to illuminate Bach’s music through the cello, occasionally taking inspiration from the instrument itself but mostly staying as close as possible to the original.

The monumental Chaconne is the centrepiece of a programme including works by Chopin and Brahms, performed by one of the UK’s most exciting cello and piano duos, Joy and James Lisney.

The programme concludes with Brahms’ Regensonate in D; an intensely nostalgic work that Clara Schumann described as ‘blissful’ and ‘melancholic’ – music that she wanted to accompany her ‘at that passage from here to eternity.’

8 MayCheltenham, Pittville Pump Room

19 MayBristol, St George’s

8 JuneLondon, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre

Joy appears on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune on Monday 6 May.

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