In this video, Chris Thile performs J. S. Bach, Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002: III – Courante. This is a technically extremely difficult piece, performed here with incredible accuracy and clarity. As the video is not professional, therefore sound is not good, if you are after the official release of this piece, you can check the “How to purchase” link below.

The Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001–1006) are a set of six works composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. They consist of three sonatas da chiesa, in four movements, and three partitas, in dance-form movements.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach started composing these works around 1703, while at Weimar, and the set was completed by 1720, when Bach was a Kapellmeister in Köthen.

He was almost certainly inspired by Johann Paul von Westhoff’s partitas for solo violin, since he worked alongside Westhoff at Weimar, and the older composer’s pieces share some stylistic similarities with Bach’s. Solo violin repertoire was actively growing at the time: Heinrich Ignaz Biber’s celebrated solo passacaglia appeared c.1676, Westhoff’s collections of solo violin music were published in 1682 and 1696, Johann Joseph Vilsmayr’s Artificiosus Concentus pro Camera in 1715, and finally, Johann Georg Pisendel’s solo violin sonata was composed around 1716. The tradition of writing for solo violin did not die after Bach, either; Georg Philipp Telemann published 12 Fantasias for solo violin in 1735.

The tradition of polyphonic violin writing was already well-developed in Germany, particularly by Biber, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, and the composers of the so-called Dresden school – Johann Jakob Walther and Westhoff. Bach’s Weimar and Köthen periods were particularly suitable times for composition of secular music, for he worked as a court musician. Bach’s cello and orchestral suites date from the Köthen period, as well as the famous Brandenburg concertos and many other well-known collections of instrumental music.
It is not known whether Bach’s works were performed during his lifetime or, if they were, who the performer was. Johann Georg Pisendel and Jean-Baptiste Volumier, both talented violinists in the Dresden court, have been suggested as possible performers, as was Joseph Spiess, leader of the orchestra in Köthen. Friedrich Wilhelm Rust, who would later become part of the Bach family circle in Leipzig, also became a likely candidate.

[2] Bach himself also possibly gave the first performance. According to his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, “in his youth, and until the approach of old age, he played the violin cleanly and powerfully”.

For more info, you can refer to the following: Link to Wikipedia article

Music Score

You can download the music score (PDF) here: IMSLP01305-BWV1002

If you are interested to find all the music scores for the 6 Violin Sonatas and Partitas, BWV 1001-1006 (Bach, Johann Sebastian), you can go to Here is the direct link to the 6 Violin Sonatas and partitas.

How to Purchase it

You can purchase an audio release of this piece from: Amazon (Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1), or iTunes

About the PartiTa No.1

ComposerBach, Johann Sebastian
Opus/Catalogue NumberBWV 1002
KeyB minor
Movements/Sections8 movements:

  1. Allemanda
  2. Double
  3. Courante
  4. Double
  5. Sarabande
  6. Double
  7. Tempo di Borea (“Gavotte”)
  8. Double
Year/Date of Composition1720
First Publication1802
Piece StyleBaroque
InstrumentationViolin (solo)
External LinksWikipedia article


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