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Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord BWV 1014-1019

Bach's Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord, Part 7

Continue from Part 6

Donald Satz wrote (March 21, 2001):
This posting is devoted to the additional music in ten of the fourteen reviewed sets beyond the six Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord:

Alternative movements for BWV 1019 - Nine sets provide two or more alternative versions of the last three movements. There are two alternatives for the 3rd movement which replace the E minor Allegro for cembalo solo: a different E minor cembalo solo, and a G major piece marked Cantabile ma un poco adagio. The fourth movement Adagio in B minor is replaced with a different Adagio in B minor. The fifth movement Allegro is replaced with a piece titled Violino solo e Basso.

Highlights of Alternative Movements - Henstra, Cole, Pinnock, and Moroney play excellently in the 3rd movement alternative cembalo solo which is better known as the third movement of Bach's E minor Partita for Harpsichord. Each of the four well brings out the music's lift and exuberance. The Cantabile ma un poco adagio, better known as a lovely aria from Bach's Cantata BWV 120, is wonderfully played by Podger and Blumenstock. The alternative fourth movement Adagio is played with great feeling and delicacy by Blumenstock, Huggett, and van Dael. The alternative fifth movement is better known as the Tempo di Gavotta from Bach's 6th Partita for Harpsichord. It's a bouncy and vibrant movement excellently captured by Terakado, van Dael, Podger, and Holloway. For these alternative movements, I most like Podger's performances with Blumenstock close behind.

Sonatas for Violin & Bass continuo BWV 1021 & BWV 1023 - These two Sonatas are often added to sets of the Violin & Harpsichord Sonatas. Seven sets in my review have these two offerings: Holloway, Goebel, Mackintosh, Manze, Wallfisch, Podger, and Butt. Although the harpsichord is the usual instrument of choice for the keyboard part, in the Holloway versions Moroney uses a chamber organ. For the bass continuo, the different versions use either the baroque cello or viola da gamba.

Highlights for BWV 1021 in G major - This four movement work is a great addition. The two fast movements are masterfully invigorating and exciting. However, it's the first movement Adagio which most captures my affection; the music is so comforting and soothing while the violin part provides a moving and intensely sad contribution. Each of the versions of BWV 1021 is very rewarding except for Wallfisch who ruins the first movement through excessive speed and a lack of grace. Her fast movements are not particularly exciting either. Holloway is most rewarding with a very special first movement of supreme comfort combined with the violin's stretching of the envelope. Moroney's use of a chamber organ is a stroke of genius as it gives the first movement that comforting foundation; Moroney's opening of the fourth movement is another memorable item. Podger and Mackintosh are highly rewarding.

Highlights for BWV 1023 in E minor - Great Music just keeps on coming. The E minor begins with an extraordinary Preludio which is provided strong stature by Mackintosh, thrills by Wallfisch, and a feast from Manze. The Adagio is so sad and filled with yearning; it's best performed by Mackintosh and Goebel. Next is the Allemada which has an irresistable rhythm when played by Mackintosh and Holloway. The last movement Gigue is wonderful dance music which Manze and Holloway fully realize. Overall, I best like Mackintosh; Holloway and Manze are excellent alternatives.

Sonatas for Violin & Bass continuo BWV 1022 & BWV 1024 - These two works are not coupled with most sets. Goebel has both, Wallfisch and Manze have just BWV 1024. Bach's authorship of the two works is in doubt, and I am highly skeptical that Bach's the composer. The music isn't excellent; the melodies are ordinary, there's no excitement, development is thin, and depth is skin-deep. It isn't Bach to my ears, and I consider the inclusion of these two Sonatas to be of little consequence.

Fugue for Violin & Bass continuo BWV 1026 - This is a short and delightful piece which is a heck of a lot better than anything in BWV 1022 or BWV 1024. Only Wallfisch includes it, and I'm grateful to listen.

Toccata & Fugue in D minor BWV 565 - I suppose this performance for solo violin by Andrew Manze has been the "additional" work most wanted by the buying public. This is another work whose authorship is in doubt. Again, I don't hear what I consider basic Bach in this work. Regardless of authorship, I can easily imagine performances I would prefer to the one from Manze who romanticizes it quite a bit.

For the additional works that come with the Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord, I favor Podger, Holloway, and Mackintosh. They're the ones who really provide some wonderful additional music-making.

Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord BWV 1014-1019: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Carmignola & Marcon | Comberti & Tilney | Ngai & Watchorn (Satz) | Ngai & Watchorn (McElhearn) | Ronez & Kubitschek | Standage & Ad-El

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