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Francisco Fullana — “Bach’s Long Shadow” & “Vivaldi: Four Seasons”

Francisco Fullana talks about his 2021 releases: Bach (Orchid Classics) and Vivaldi with Apollo's Fire and Jeannette Sorrell. Listen to them here!
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Orchid Classics just released your second CD, titled Bach’s Long Shadow, which can also be found on Spotify. You combine Bach’s works with composers of the second half of the 19th century. What inspired you to record this album?

My journey with Bach is a long one, as it is with many of us. It started at a young age when I played E Major Prelude at around ten years of age. I grew to love his works. They’re such a big part of the violin repertoire. Even in school or in competitions, Bach was a very big constant in my musical repertoire. It’s been an evolution; when I started playing, it was very straight and old school. But then, as I’ve matured as a musician, I started becoming very curious about the music and started to dig a bit deeper. I changed my playing and technique, adding ornaments and playing a bit lighter with more releasing of the chords. Eventually, it made more sense for me to start playing on gut strings and to really explore the Baroque style, tuning and bow — to really delve into the technique.

This project was a close friend during the pandemic — a place of safety during the most challenging days. So, the album contains two parts. One is Bach’s Long Shadow, and the other is called The Chaconne Files, for which we recorded the Partita in D Minor paired with a new piece by a Spanish composer that was inspired by the Chaconne. It was a way for me to rework and revisit Bach’s Chaconnes and completely rethink Bach’s music. I realised just how humble he was and how much it wasn’t about him. His music is so much more than that. In his case, it was about his faith and the natural beauty in the world and about the people who inhabit it, as well as the good values we all strive to have. It was vital for me to reconsider a lot of ideas that I’ve accumulated over the years and to be sure they were helping me to convey Bach’s message.

One of the cool things about music is the many connections and musical influences throughout history. Some are very obvious, but others are not. For example, the second Sonata literally quotes the opening of Bach’s E Major Prelude, which made a lot of sense. I try to connect the music in a meaningful way. At the concert I performed last night, I played half the program on a Baroque violin with constraints, proper Baroque tuning and the works. Then, I incorporated some other virtuosic pieces connected to Bach in some way on another violin. So that is an excellent way for me to put the music together and to present the album.

It is not only about connecting the musical elements. It’s also about connecting with others. That’s a huge reason why I play music. When Covid took away musicians’ opportunities to perform, I used the time to find another way to connect with the composers, and now I can also connect with other audiences differently.

 

What are some projects coming up that you are excited about? Tell us about some exciting new activities and performances you are looking forward to in the future.

The next few months will be pretty packed and a bit crazy. There will be a lot of practice to do between a lot of travel, which is fun, but my next project is fascinating. We’re releasing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in mid-October with Apollo’s Fire and Jeannette Sorrell. They’re the best Baroque orchestra in the country — what they’re doing is incredible. I’ve played with them on a couple of projects before, but we’re working together a lot next year for their 30th Anniversary, which will involve a lot of artists. Apart from playing the Vivaldi, it will be lots of fun because we have added a Baroque harp. It all comes to life. And Jeannette’s vision for the piece is so fresh and full of life. The collaboration felt very natural for us to put together and record. We have several other exciting projects coming up, so I think this collaboration will be ongoing. We just finished the editing about a week ago, and I’m very excited for people to hear it because I think it’s a breath of fresh air.

 

Website: franciscofullana.com

Full Interview: “It Is Not Only About Connecting the Musical Elements. It’s Also About Connecting With Others. That’s a Huge Reason Why I Play Music”

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