Márta Ábrahám has several thematic lectures on the subject of solo violin pieces by J. S. Bach. Her teaching consists of two parts, the first is a historical overview, raising the most common, burning questions. The historical and social changes of musical education and the evolution of editions can give explanation to many of these questions. In the center of the second part of the lecture is the contradiction between polyphony and the inadequacy of the instrument. There is a primary need to clarify the contradictions between the „gappy polyphonic fabric” style of the Six Solosonata and Partita and the capability of the violin.     It is clear that sacrifices have to be made in order to create an ideal mode of playing that functions well with polyphonic issues. How do we achive freedom and inventiveness within the limits of the violin?

Understanding the root of tradition may open new prespectives. The main task is to clear off the dusty layers of habits (consequence of tradition) and look at the notes, JSB has written. Being faithful to the urtext and the autograph score is essential in the context of discovering the intention of the composer. We, violinists are extremely fortunate to have an existing guarantee of authenticity, the original autograph copy by the hand of JSB (Berlin State Library).

The structural analysis of the Ciaccona and the three violin fugues are presented in Powerpoint illustration of music examples, multi-voice scores, letter-number chart, etc. Following the speech there is a performance of the pieces by Márta Ábrahám.

The lecture is 2-2,5 hours long, after the teaching there is possibility for the audience to exchange views, and ask questions.

“… Specially in the case of Bach’s masterpieces, we have to try to play them and to hear them as if they would have been totally free from the formative effect of the tradition… only taking into account one single point of reference: Bach’s score as the setting of a timeless work of art in a definitely time-bound idiom…..First and foremost, we need to approach as close as possibly the great masterpieces, which means that we have to  throw away the puffy pillows of the intermediate experiences and interpretations, and start the work again from the beginning.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt