Voices of Music : JS Bach Violin Sonatas.
Lilting renaissance & baroque vocal interpretations .
In comparison to the rich legacy of instrumental and vocal music preserved in
his cantatas, relatively little chamber music of Johann Sebastian Bach survives. Surely
there must have been more, as historical accounts suggest a lively musical scene
for instrumental music not only from Bach's Cöthen period but also but also, as
Christoph Wolff suggests in his 1985 article on Bach's chamber music, from his
tenure at Leipzig.
The works which do survive are compositions of extraordinary
refinement, and the sonatas for violin, with both continuo and obbligato parts
for keyboard, are among the best of Bach's chamber music. Although it is
impossible to say for certain if Bach created this new genre, he was certainly
the first to write a significant number of complex pieces using this new
technique. The quality of these pieces and their position in history is
reinforced by a brief note penned many years after their composition by Bach's
son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach: "The six harpsichord trios are among my dear
father's best works. Even after more than fifty years, they still sound
excellent, and are delightful".
A comparison to the Brandenburg concertos may be
drawn not only in the way the sonatas are collected but also in the tightly knit
compositional style which emphasizes all of the varied skills of the baroque
musician, from cantabile playing to episodes of ferocious complexity and
The manuscript sources present a number of different titles for
these works, but a common thread may be seen in the following: Sei Suonate à
Cembalo certato è Violino solo ("certato" here means that the keyboard part is
written out in full). The title emphasizes the partnership of the harpsichord
and violin (with the harpsichord here receiving top billing). The collection of
six pieces was numerically significant to Bach, as musicologist John Butt has
noted: Bach liked groups of six, and, like the six Brandenburgs, the collection
was probably drawn from several different sources.
A number of writers have suggested that owing to the primary position of the
word "cembalo" and the word "certato" in the title, these pieces are really
harpsichord sonatas with violin accompaniment. A survey of all the titles in all
of the sources reveals that all of the titles are different, and that the pieces
are often referred to only as "violin solo" or "violin sonata." However, the
word "certato" in the title does importantly signify a new and exciting
development in the composition of instrumental sonatas: a method in which the
keyboard player is provided with an intricate, written out part which
essentially creates the sound of a trio sonata - the right hand of the keyboard
instrument often sounds a melody in the manner of a second solo instrument.
In addition to the "obbligato" sonatas, we have recorded several of the continuo
sonatas in which only a bass line with figures is provided for the continuo.
Although the accompaniments for these pieces is much less elaborate than those
of the obbligato sonatas, it is clear from the figures and the overall musical
structure that although a trio-like texture is called for in some places in the
music - the figures above the bass notes sometimes provide a basic outline for a
counter melody - the harmonic underpinnings work quite well as a solo sonata.
One of the true delights of preparing this program, and in reading about the
history of these pieces, was working with the seldom performed Fugue in G Minor
for Violin and Continuo BWV 1026. An unusual piece in many respects, the Fugue
combines a number of contrapuntal devices over an imitative and harmonic
framework, and, needless to say, requires every ounce of technique from the
soloist. Extended episodes of two-part writing are leavened with triple stops
and an extended pedal point alternating between the D strings of both the violin
and the cello.
Of the Fugue, violinist Carla Moore writes: "What a wonderful
surprise was in store when I opened the score of Bach's complete sonatas for
violin and harpsichord, and discovered the G Minor Fugue. I had never come
across this work before - it is not in any edition of the sonatas I have seen, and
is not part of the standard Bach sonata repertory. It reminded me of the
excitement and thrill of discovery I experienced in college when I began
performing music by composers not taught in the modern violin curriculum - Biber,
Castello and Couperin - and how it changed forever the way I think about music.
What a wonderful treat it has been to learn this suspenseful, high-energy
~ David Tayler, Ph.D. 2013
Full notes and bios are available in the artwork download or from Sports football betting appwww.voicesofmusic.org/bachviolin.html.
1. Adagio Sonata For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1021 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
2. Vivace Sonata For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1021 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
3. Largo Sonata For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1021 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
4. Presto Sonata For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1021 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
5. Largo Sonata In C Minor For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1017 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
6. Allegro Sonata In C Minor For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1017 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
7. Sports football betting appAdagio Sonata In C Minor For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1017 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
8. Allegro Sonata In C Minor For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1017 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
9. Allegro Adagio Ma Non Tanto Sonata In E Minor For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1023 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
10. Allemanda Sonata In E Minor For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1023 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
11. Gigue Sonata In E Minor For Violin and Continuo In G Major BMV 1023 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
12. Dolce Sonata In A Major For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1015 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
13. Allegro Sonata In A Major For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1015 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
14. Andante Un Poco Sonata In A Major For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1015 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
15. Presto Sonata In A Major For Violin and Harpsichord BMV 1015 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
16. Fugue In G Minor For Violin and Continuo BWV 1026 (Johann Sebastian Bach)
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Release date: 04/14/2013
Voices of Music lives in California USA
Tagged as: Classical, Chamber Music, Baroque, Instrumental, Cello, Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Violin
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