The Chaconne, as a through-composed work of art, is simply perfect. It contains nothing extraneous; there is no trial and error. Every note is purposeful, creating the right momentary effect and contributing concisely to the development of large-scale drama.
Busoni’s arrangement draws upon the power, resonance, and polyphonic capabilities of the piano to elucidate ideas which Bach outlined on the violin. Bach’s violin piece is the book; Busoni’s transcription is the movie. The compositional integrity of the original is strong enough that it transcends musical style, working just as well as Busoni’s extroverted, demonstrative Romantic work .
The variations of the Chaconne explore the inner workings of an eight-bar harmonic progression. This manner of musical development is exactly what improvising jazz musicians do. I suspect that the Chaconne had its origins in Bach’s own improvisation, as he likely improvised on this chord progression many times.
Recording Date: February 2, 2006
Recording Location: Cedarville University
Ensemble Type: Solo Piano
Performers: John Mortensen, piano
About the Music
Composer: J.S. Bach (arr. Ferruccio Busoni)
Place of Composition: Germany
Date Composed: 1723
Score: Available Here
Music Styles: Romantic
Chaconne in D minor