Recorded on 10/26/2010, uploaded on 10/26/2010
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
In a letter to Bach's first biographer, his eldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, refers to the Violin and Harpsichord Sonatas as 'the 6 Clavier Trios', and describes them as being "among the best works of my dear departed father." This and other contemporary accounts of Bach's "keyboard works with the accompaniment of other instruments" imply that Bach considered them 'Sonatas for Harpsichord with Violin', and not the other way around. They occupy a unique place in the Baroque chamber music repertoire, which traditionally afforded the harpsichord a solely accompanimental role, improvising harmonies from a bass line shared with the cello, as heard in the Corelli. Bach's sonatas not only have fully written-out keyboard parts, but distribute melodic material equally between the harpsichord and violin.
Such elevation of the harpsichord to a position equal to the violin was rarely found in the Baroque, except in other Bach works like his Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, the first concerto in history to feature a solo keyboard part. The dialogue between violin and harpsichord is most readily heard in these sonatas' fast, fugal movements, but their sublime slow movements are the true gems, like the opening Largo of this C minor sonata that paraphrases the famous St. Matthew Passion aria, "Erbarme dich". CPE Bach himself seemed to agree when he wrote, "[These sonatas] still sound excellent and give me much joy... They contain some Adagii that could not be written in a more singable manner today." Jayson MoyMs. Berry plays a baroque violin
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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