Adam Cicchillitti Plays Gigue BWV 1004 by Bach

Canadian guitarist Adam Cicchillitti performs the Gigue from Partita in D minor for solo violin BWV 1004 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This comes via Cicchillitti’s YouTube channel with video work by Drew Henderson. Beautifully clean and rhythmic performance with wonderful tone by Cicchillitti. Below is his description on YouTube and I completely agree. In fact, I’m planning to publish scores for all the violin and cello works that are pretty much just the original scores without anything added. Plenty of notes just in the original, especially when you consider the performance level that string players bring to the works.

This is my arrangement of the Gigue from BWV 1004 by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. In this version, I have added a bassline under the complete violin part, which I feel adds depth to the piece. One of the issues I have with playing Bach’s violin works on the guitar is that I feel a certain emptiness when there is no accompanying bassline. However, many guitarists that include basses in their transcriptions tend to be overzealous in how many notes are added, which creates a rendition that is dense and difficult to execute technically. In my opinion it’s crucial to convey the lightness expected of a gigue with the clarity of phrasing required to make Bach’s music sing. Simply put, too many basses makes the piece too heavy. The guitar is not a violin, but nor is it a piano; in my opinion the instrument can add some polyphonic depth to the texture, but it must be done tastefully. Whether or not you agree is up to you, but I hope you at least understand my reasons for this project.

For context and interest, below is the great Canadian violinist James Ehnes performing the entire Partita via YouTube. The Gigue starts at 11:18.

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  1. Just amazing. I love Bach, his Chaconne is my all time favorite classical piece. This performance was so good, great camera work too. Thank you.

  2. Totally agree with you Bradford love your arrangements just to add that Bach sounds sharper, clearer, simpler on a classical guitar comparing to the violin performance. I just want to thank you and the other classical guitarists in the last 50 years that brought JS Bach closer to the general public.