J. S. Bach
Flute Sonatas

The Bach-Gesellschaft edition (the original complete collection of Bach’s works) was in 46 volumes published in Leipzig between 1851 and 1899. It included 3 Sonatas for Flute and Keyboard (i.e., an actual keyboard part - BWV 1030 in B Minor, BWV 1031 in A Major and BWV 1032 in Eb Major) and a Sonata for Violin and Keyboard (BWV 1020 in G Minor) as well as 3 Sonatas for Flute and Continuo (i.e., a figured bass part - BWV 1033 in C Major, BWV 1034 in E Minor and BWV 1035 in E Major). The Sonata in A Minor BWV 1013 (for unaccompanied Flute) was discovered in 1917 by Karl Straube (1873-1950).

Johan Sebastian Bach, composer, violinist and keyboard virtuoso, was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany and died on July 28, 1750 in Leipzig, Germany.

Today, he is probably the most famous composer of the Baroque Period in music (1600-1750) and definitely represents the culmination of Baroque style. One of the main differences between Baroque style and that of the Classical Period (1750-1825) which followed, was the use of counterpoint - literally note (i.e., point) against (counter) note (point). With 21st Century ears, we tend to hear music as a single melody, usually, the highest part, with (harmonic) accompaniment; however, much of his music consists of several melodies, all of equal importance, being played simultaneously.

Bach composed for the Flute over a period of about twenty years, beginning with the Sonata in A Minor (BWV 1013) for unaccompanied Flute - BWV stands for Bach Werke Verzeichnis - Bach works catalog). This sonata was written while Bach was the conductor of the court orchestra in Cöthen, between 1717 and 1723, for the French flautist Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin (1690-1768), who Bach had met at the Dresden court in 1717; Sonata No. 1 in B Minor (BWV 1030) was also probably written for Buffardin.

One of the two surviving manuscript copies of Sonata No. 2 in Eb Major (BWV 1031) was copied by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) - Bach’s second oldest son, also a composer, who himself wrote many works for the Flute; this has caused much debate about the authenticity of this sonata and, for the same reason, Sonata No. 4 in C Major (BWV 1033), now believed to have been originally composed for unaccompanied Flute by J. S. Bach with a figured bass line added later by C. P. E. Bach.

The score for Sonata No. 3 in A Major (BWV 1032) was on the same manuscript as Concerto for Two Harpsichords in C Minor (BWV 1062), using the blank lines at the bottom of that score. Unfortunately, 45 measures were cut (and lost) from the 1st Movement Vivace - only the first 62 and last 2 measures survived! There are several modern “reconstructions” available but our edition only includes the original (complete) 2nd & 3rd Movements.

Sonatas BWV 1020 in G Minor, BWV 1031 in Eb Major and BWV 1033 in C Major are now considered spurious works but all have been included because the debate still continues!

J. S. Bach - Complete Flute Sonatas

J. S. Bach - Sonata No. 1 in B Minor (BWV 1030)

J. S. Bach - Sonata No. 2 in A Major (BWV 1031)

J. S. Bach - Sonata No. 3 in Eb Major (BWV 1032)

J. S. Bach - Sonata No. 4 in C Major (BWV 1033)

J. S. Bach - Sonata No. 5 in E Minor (BWV 1034)

J. S. Bach - Sonata No. 6 in E Major (BWV 1035)

J. S. Bach - Sonata in G Minor (BWV 1020)

J. S. Bach - Sonata in A Minor (BWV 1013) unaccompanied

J. S. Bach - Sonatas arranged as Duets for Flute & Clarinet

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