Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0664-2
Release Date: 2023-03-17
Number of Discs: 2
EAN/UPC: 748871066427
Artists: ,
Liner Notes

SOMM Recordings announces a double-disc set of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord brilliantly performed by two virtuosos of their instruments, Adrian Butterfield (violin) and Silas Wollston (harpsichord).

The selection of eight sonatas includes six works for violin and obbligato harpsichord (BWV 1014-1019), likely composed between 1720 and 1723 during Bach’s final years in Cöthen, and the later Violin Sonatas in G major (BWV 1021) from 1732, and early (though belatedly catalogued) E minor (BWV 1023) from around 1709.

Bonus tracks include three alternative movements composed for the BWV 1019 Sonata in G major that illustrate the development of Bach’s thinking in relation to sonata form and intimate musical expression.

These intricately designed sonatas also serve to reveal Bach’s innovative way of employing the harpsichord’s singing voice as an equal to the violin and are surely precursors to the rich sonata tradition that emerged in the 19th century.

Butterfield and Wollston’s erudite booklet notes place the sonatas within the context of Bach’s own musical inheritance and influences while arguing for their abiding appeal: “More than 300 years after their composition, they still sound excellent, give much joy and continue to tug at the listener’s heartstrings”.

Making his SOMM debut, Silas Wollston is partnered by Adrian Butterfield, whose previous releases for the label feature him alongside London Handel Players colleagues in Handel’s Complete Sonatas & Works for Violin and Continuo with Katherine Sharman (cello) and Laurence Cummings (harpsichord), described by Early Music Review as “required listening” (SOMMCD 068); the Seven Trio Sonatas, Op.5, judged “assured and surprisingly lyrical” by Gramophone (SOMMCD 044); and Geminiani’s Complete Sonatas, Op.1 (SOMMCD 248-2), featuring performances that International Record Review declared “want for nothing in terms of technical brilliance and musical integrity”.

On This Recording

    Disc 1

    Sonata in B minor BWV 1014

  1. I. Adagio
  2. II. Allegro
  3. III. Andante
  4. IV. Allegro
  5. Sonata in A BWV 1015

  6. I. Dolce
  7. II. Allegro assai
  8. III. Andante un poco
  9. IV. Presto
  10. Sonata in E BWV 1016

  11. I. Adagio
  12. II. Allegro
  13. III. Adagio ma non tanto
  14. IV. Allegro
  15. Sonata in E minor BWV 1023

  16. I. (Preludio)
  17. II. Adagio ma non tanto
  18. III. Allemanda
  19. IV. Gigue
  20. Sonata in G BWV 1021

  21. I. Adagio
  22. II. Vivace
  23. III. Largo
  24. IV. Presto
  25. Disc 2

    Sonata in C minor BWV 1017

  26. I. Largo
  27. II. Allegro
  28. III. Adagio
  29. IV. Allegro
  30. Sonata in F minor BWV 1018

  31. I. (Lamento)
  32. II. Allegro
  33. V. Adagio
  34. IV. Vivace
  35. Sonata in G BWV 1019

  36. I. Vivace
  37. II. Largo
  38. III. Allegro
  39. IV Adagio
  40. IV. Allegro
  41. BWV 1019 Alternative Movements

  42. Cantabile, ma un poco Adagio
  43. Adagio
  44. BWV 1019 (Tempo di Gavotta)