Throughout his career, Ilya Gringolts has devoted himself to performing contemporary music as well as the great concert repertoire, while also developing a keen interest in historical performance practice. The focus of his latest recital disc is therefore quite logical: music of our own time and its inspiration: Johann Sebastian Bach. The album title is Ciaccona and besides Bach’s iconic composition, &&&Gringolts plays a further two chaconnes – or three if one counts the Ciacconina which opens Heinz Holliger’s brief cycle, composed for Isabelle Faust in 2014.
The Spanish composer Roberto Gerhard wrote his Chaconne using his own take on twelve-tone technique. In his introduction to the album, Gringolts describes its twelve movements as including ‘everything from chorale to ländler … probably the most Viennese music ever written by a Catalan.’ The disc closes with Kontrapartita by the French composer Brice Pauset, ‘a kind of through-the-looking-glass Bach partita’ to quote Gringolts once again. Pauset composed his work in 2008 – seven movements, each written with a particular movement from Bach’s partitas for solo violin in mind. For this work (and the interwoven movements by Bach) Gringolts has chosen to use a violin with a baroque setup, finding that the instrument seemed to respond to the ‘historically informed avant-garde’ of the writing.