Recorded February 18th - 21st 2009, Sala della Musica di Villa San Remigio, Verbania (Italy).
After the Six Partitas (1715) of Johann Joseph Vilsmayr, Gunar Letzbor pursues his exploration of the German repertoire for the unaccompanied violin before Bach with the Six Partitas by Johann Paul von Westhoff. Two details in the career of von Westhoff (1656-1705) draw our attention to him and his solo violin suites. First, he was one of the leading violin virtuosos of his time who, in his later years, served at the Weimar court of Duke Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar along with the teenaged Johann Sebastian Bach. Second, he is the composer of the earliest collection of suites for the unaccompanied violin, printed in 1696. Westhoff was therefore not only a violinist of wide renown and the first to conceive a cycle of unaccompanied violin suites, but also a likely inspiration for Bach’s own violin playing and his eventual sonatas and partitas for unaccompanied violin.