The sonatas and partitas for solo violin and the suites for solo cello show how detailed was Bach’s knowledge of the possibilities of these instruments, and how far the inherent expressive and virtuoso qualities could be stretched. With just the single solo line available the contrapuntal and harmonic structure could for the most part only be implied, but Bach’s genius endowed these pieces with such depth and substance that they are totally satisfying and complete. Nevertheless, realising the implied harmonies and counterpoint offers the transcriber unlimited opportunities for invention. Notable examples must also include Rachmaninov’s transcription of the Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue from the above Partita in E, and Busoni’s majestic arrangement of the Chaconne from the D minor Partita.
from notes by Piers Lane © 2003