When hardly anyone still composed chaconnes, Bach decides to include one in his Partita for Violin No. 2. Monumental for many reasons (it represents a challenge for performers in that it treats the violin as if it were a polyphonic instrument), Bach’s “Chaconne” could be tombeau, a lament for the death of his first wife. This idea is underlined by the fact that the Cantata BWV 4, titled “Christ lag in Todesbanden”, is cited throughout the work’s 32 variations.
Best known for his orchestral music, Ottorino Respighi also composed outstanding chamber works including this Violin Sonata in B minor (1917). The expressive tension of the Sonata is maintained throughout its three movements, climaxing with the frenetic final “Passacaglia”. The opening section of the movement is grandiose in nature, and this is followed by a more lyrical fragment. The movement concludes with a passage in which the initial grandeur reappears, combined with virtuosic writing in the piano part.