Riikka: What kind of things does playing Bach reveal of the player compared to other pieces of the first round?
Antti: It definitely reveals the player’s barest side in how to treat harmony, rhythm and character of the Baroque era. With baroque instruments it is easier to reach the authentic stylistic characteristics, but the fact is that the Bach pieces are so outstanding in the violin repertoire in revealing technical skills as well as the sensitivity of the player.
Riikka: Can you show me an example of something that’s sensitive and revealing?
Antti: Well, for example… this is from the sonata in A minor, the 3rd movement Andante, where underneath the beautiful simple melody like this… (a musical example) flows a bass line. If you approach the music via this bass line, it shows what kinds of harmonies the player values and needs to bring out and how he treats the phrase.
Riikka: What is your phrase like this morning?
Antti: My phrase this morning might sound like this: (A musical excerpt)
Riikka: Beautiful! To the next round!
Antti: There are many different ways. When there are many players, you might run into interpretations which appear surprisingly fresh. Or there might be similar patterns of thinking..
Riikka: Are those patterns tied to different violin schools?
Antti: Those, too. The Bach options have been selected refreshingly so that you play the later movements of the sonatas and partitas; usually it is just the fugue, or adagio and fugue, so the choices the candidate makes show more about his personality - which movements he picks and how he treats them. And naturally it depends on the school as well. It’s obvious that there are cultural differences in the American and European schools and candidates, even still in 2015. On the other hand, most of the styles and violin schools have been blended. In a way it’s possible to hear very personal interpretations.
NOTE: This was Riikka's vlog in written form.
Watch all Riikka's vlogs
The vlog in Finnish.