BACH 706

Sonatas for Violin & Continuo BWV 1021, 1023, 1024
Reinhold Barchet, violin
Robert Veyron-Lacroix, harpsichord
Jacoba Muckel, cello

Trio Sonata BWV 1036
Mario Duschenes, flute
Melvin Berman, oboe
Kelsey Jones, harpsichord

Trio Sonatas BWV 1037, 1038 & 1039
Hartmut Strebel, flute
Rainer Kussmaul, violin
Werner Taube, cello & Lisedore Praetorius, harpsichord


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1. Trio Sonata in d-minor, BWV 1036 for flute, oboe & harpsichord
    Adagio – Largo – Vivace

2. Sonata for violin & continuo in c-minor, BWV 1024
     Allegro – Adagio non tanto – Allemande – Gigue

3. Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1038 for flute, violin & continuo
     Largo – Vivace – Adagio – Presto

4. Sonata for violin & continuo in G Major, BWV 1021
     Adagio – Vivace – Largo – Presto

5. Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039 for two flutes and continuo
     Adagio – Allegro ma non presto – Adagio e piano – Presto

6. Sonata for violin & continuo in e-minor, BWV 1023
     Adagio – Presto – Affetuoso – Vivace

7. Trio Sonata in C Major, BWV 1037 for two violins & figured bass
    Adagio – Alla breve – Largo – Gigue

Total time 75:37

The Sonatas on this disc were composed at the Court of Cöthen between 1717 and 1721 – a period which Bach himself described as the happiest years of his life.

Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen had already spent three years (1710-13) doing the Grand Tour of Europe, first to Holland and England, through Germany to Italy where he studied Italian secular music with great interest; returning by way of Vienna. He had well-developed musical tastes, and he returned from his Grand Tour determined to raise the standard of German secular music to an equally high level, to which end he stretched the limited budget of his miniature Court to provide an orchestra of eighteen players, all chosen for their high musical standards from all over the country, some from as far afield as Berlin. In fact it was during the Prince's Grand Tour in 1713 that news came to him of a golden opportunity: when Wilhelm I of Prussia came to power, he dismissed his father's Court Capelle, and Prince Leopold was able to tempt many of the best musicians from Berlin to Cöthen.

Life at Cöthen was informal and easy-going; in this happy atmosphere Bach's days were completely devoted to music. During this period he wrote much of his chamber music; violin concertos, flute, violin, and trio sonatas, keyboard music, the sonatas and partitas for unaccompanied violin, the suites for unaccompanied violoncello, the six Brandenburg Concertos, and probably the orchestral suites. Bach found here daily encouragement to compose and play chamber music. And he took his opportunity with a will.

During his later years, too, Bach returned to the joys of secular music-making, now in Leipzig and performing at public concerts in Zimmerman's Coffee House and Garden together with the Collegium Musicum. Here therefore we hear music which gave its composer double enjoyment, both at Cöthen and later at Leipzig.

If two of the works on this disc, the Violin Sonata in G Major BWV 1021 and the Trio Sonata in G Major BWV 1038 sound similar, it is because they share the same bass line - an interesting example of the baroque art of "variation on a bass line". Likewise the Trio Sonata BWV 1039 will be familiar to anyone who knows the Cello and Harpsichord Sonata BWV 1027, a later re-working.

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