Bach, JS :: Sonata in A minor, S. 1013

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  • Composer
    Bach, JS
  • Instrumentation
    Flute Alone
  • Publisher
    International Music Company (IMC) [2380]
  • Editor
    Rampal, Jean-Pierre
  • Orchestration
    fl
  • Includes CD or Audio Download
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined
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Sonata in A minor, S. 1013
Bach, JS

International Music Company presents Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonata in A Minor, BWV 1013 for flute solo edited by Jean-Pierre Rampal.

'Bach s small chamber works are in some respects the most mysterious pieces in his entire output. We know almost nothing about when or why they were written, or even if some of them are indeed by Bach. The old Schmieder catalogue listing of this work calls it a Sonata, but it is really a suite or partita (the term used in the New Bach Edition) because of its sequence of Baroque dance genres. The Partita in A survives in a version for solo flute, but it is not absolutely clear whether this is the original form in which Bach wrote it.

The claim has been made that Bach composed the work for some other instrument, such as the harpsichord, because the non-stop flow of sixteenth notes in the first movement leaves no place for a breath! Yet Bach might very well have written such a piece for an extraordinary player with exceptional breath control. In any case, it seems to be the earliest of his works for flute. His own manuscript is lost; the earliest manuscript was written byan unknown scribe who worked with Bach and comes from about 1722 or 1723, near the end of Bach s stay at Cothen. However, there is no clue to how much earlier it may have been composed. Bach authority Robert Marshall has suggested partly from fact that the manuscript of the work bears a title page in French that Bach composed the piece for the most distinguished flutist of his day, the Frenchman Pierre Buffardin, with whom his elder brother Johann Jakob Bach had once studied. Bach visited Dresden, where Buffardin was the principal flutist, in the fall of 1717, and it is very likely that he composed this partita as a result of hearing a true master of the transverse flute for the first time.

The Partita consists of four movements in various dance styles. The opening Allemande, with its constant running sixteenth-notes, gives the impression more of a prelude than of a dance movement, with a well-shaped ascent to a climax and an artful descent afterwards. The Corrente (an Italian equivalent of the Courante) begins with a theme of vigorous rhythmic profile and wide leaps, but it eventually takes on the 'running' character (which is what the word 'corrente' means) in rapid sixteenth notes. The Sarabande is slower, and its wide- ranging melody and diverse thematic elements offer an interpretive challenge to the player. The final movement a Bouree anglaise rather than the customary Gigue offers a sprightly conclusion in a more popular idiom.'

- Steven Ledbetter

  • Composer
    Bach, JS
  • Instrumentation
    Flute Alone
  • Publisher
    International Music Company (IMC) [2380]
  • Editor
    Rampal, Jean-Pierre
  • Orchestration
    fl
  • Includes CD or Audio Download
    No
  • Classification
    Not Applicable
  • Genre
    Undefined

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