“[Bariolage] is a common technique to build tension near the end of a long violin piece and there are numerous possible inspirations for this particular passage in earlier chaconnes. In the Bach Chaconne, however, given that right mood and right performer, it matters not at all if one knows what a bariolage is or where it came from. What matters is that it sounds like a kind of outcry — not the sad little two-note sighs we have been taught to listen for in Mozart or Chopin, but long, hoarse-throated, mascara-streaked, Jessye Norman — collapsing-in-a-heap groans. Once you’ve felt this passage that way once, it is hard not to feel it that way every time you hear the Chaconne, and even to demand it, judging performers on the Daniel Day-Lewis scale of how many forehead veins they sound like they’re about to pop.”
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