Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
Performance date: 01/07/2012
Venue: St. Brendan’s Church
Composition Year: 1736
Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Other: fl, mar
Fiona Kelly -
Ji Hye Jung - [marimba]
wrote four sonatas for solo flute and either cembalo or continuo.
This A major Sonata has an interesting history. The original
manuscript is lost, probably destroyed during World War II, but Bach
had copied it out in 1736 and this has been preserved. It is rather
unusual as he used the bottom three staves of manuscript sheets
containing the C minor Concerto for Two Harpsichords and then
continued using the whole sheets once the Concerto ended.
Unfortunately someone, perhaps Bach or maybe a later hand, cut off
46 bars of the first movement of the Sonata which means that
musicologists have had to recreate this music using the existing
themes and style. Originally the cembalo or harpsichord was employed
but today’s performance is an arrangement for marimba. This is an
instrument of the xylophone family with broader, thicker keys
providing a more mellow sound.
wrote a lively score for the cembalo (or marimba today), so it is not
intended as a mere accompaniment, but makes its own musical
contribution. This is clear from the start as the marimba opens the
work with a full statement of the main theme or ritornello before the
flute enters at all and each instrument is given distinctive music of
its own throughout this and the ensuing movements. The second
movement is a charming air for the flute, with the marimba sometimes
simply accompanying but also providing its own comments on the theme.
The finale returns to the cheerful mood of the opening, again with
the marimba taking the lead.
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