As The Pochekin Brothers, Mikhail and Ivan Pochekin made an outstanding debut with their album The Unity of Opposites (Melodiya) in spring 2018. The »masters of duo violin playing« (klassik.com) convinced the critics with their elaborate interplay and a sophisticated program of rarity value. Now Mikhail Pochekin testifies to his individual talent and shows that he not only knows how to excel as a chamber musician – with a program that could hardly be more challenging. For his first solo recording, Mikhail Pochekin has turned his attention to what is certainly the most important and demanding opus for solo violin: the Sonatas and Partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach.
»On a system, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings.« Johannes Brahms’ reverent words, which he addressed to Clara Schumann in 1877, were written with a view to the monumental Ciaccona of the D minor Partita. However, they can be easily transferred to the entire cycle. For almost 300 years, the compositional mastery and the tremendous expressiveness of the six works have held an unbroken fascination – and have always demanded all of the interpreter’s skill.
NO-TE: What does the Bach cycle mean to you?
MIKHAIL: The sonatas and partitas play an incredibly important role in my repertoire – and actually in my life, too. I have dreamt for a very long time to make this CD recording. I started learning Bach’s works many years ago. And meanwhile they have become a completely natural component for me – not a day of my life actually passes without a thought of this music.
NO-TE: What is so special about it for you?
MIKHAIL: Johann Sebastian Bach never left Germany in his life. Nevertheless, he was an incredibly curious and interested person who knew exactly what was happening in the musical world. We see this, for example, in his transcriptions of Vivaldi or Marcello. In the violin cycle he uses the Italian sonata form and the partitas of French origin. He connects them in an ingenious way, on the one hand through their emotional power and on the other through their musical structure.
NO-TE: …and beyond the technical?
MIKHAIL: The works, especially the Ciaccona, are among the greatest and most profound works ever created. They describe the whole of human life. Every person, whether musician or listener, perceives their content in different ways, even at different stages of life. Our understanding of them grows and develops with us. All a person’s feelings go through a whole evolution in the six works. Minor keys dominate most of the time. In the third and last partita, Bach opts for a brilliant E major. It sounds like a spiritual relief to me.
February 2, 2018