BACH 71920 Double Album - Disc 1

1. Sonata in d minor
   for violin & harpsichord, BWV 1014
   Adagio – Allegro – Andante – Allegro

2. Fantasy in c minor
   for solo harpsichord, BWV 906

3. Sonata in A Major
   for violin & harpsichord, BWV 1015
   Andante – Allegro assai– Andante un poco – Presto

4. Four Duets for solo harpsichord (Clavierübung III):
   in e minor, BWV 802 – in G Major, BWV 804
   in a minor, BWV 805 – in F Major, BWV 803

5. Sonata in E Major
   for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1016
   Adagio – Allegro – Adagio ma non tanto – Allegro

Josef Suk, violin
Zuzana Ruzickova, harpsichord

Total time 66:57

BACH 71920 Double Album - Disc 2

1. Sonata in c minor
   for violin & harpsichord, BWV 1017
   Siciliano (Largo) – Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

2. Prelude & Fugue in a minor
   for solo harpsichord, BWV 894

3. Sonata in f minor
   for violin & harpsichord, BWV 1018
   Largo – Allegro – Adagio – Vivace

4. Fantasy & Fugue in a minor
   for solo harpsichord, BWV 904

5. Sonata in G Major
   for violin & harpsichord, BWV 1019
   Allegro – Largo – Allegro (harpsichord solo) –
   Adagio – Allegro

Josef Suk, violin
Zuzana Ruzickova, harpsichord

Total time 73:40

These contrapuntally rich yet always tuneful sonatas were composed in Cöthen, probably around 1719-20, then revived some ten years later by Bach for performance at the regular public concerts given in the 150-seat concert hall attached to Zimmermann's Coffee House in Leipzig, or in summer, at Zimmermann's Gardens outside the Grimma Gate.

Bach might well have played the harpsichord at these Leipzig concerts since the two clavier parts together hold more interest - bearing in mind that these were essentially Trio Sonatas visualized and written for two equal harpsichord lines and violin. Though given a good harpsichord player, and there would have surely been no shortage, Bach would no doubt have been happy to take up the violin, it being the first instrument he learned, remaining no doubt an instrument dear to his heart.

Those who favour the lighter, single-manual harpsichord often heard in those performances termed "authentic" should recall that Gottfried Zimmerman frequently re-equipped his establishment with the latest musical instruments, one of his prize possessions in the late 1720s being "a clavicymbel of large size and range of expressivity" which was a Leipzig attraction in itself. It was replaced by an even finer instrument in 1733, and there is good reason to believe that it was in fact a three-manual instrument similar to that owned by the Collegium in Jena and illustrated in the 1746 print illustrated on our CD BACH 718.

The performances by Suk and Ruzickova are in our view the best we have ever heard or are likely to hear. The two played together regularly and had already done so for many years before this 1963 recording was made. Their renditions are lively and tuneful, then rich and sonorous, responding perfectly to the moods and demands of the music. Ruzickova is not afraid to use the full resources of her harpsichord, including the 16' stop where added bass is required to give what Bach called "fondament". This is used particularly to stress a change in harmonic progression.

The solo works have been interspersed in the programme to give variety. The solo harpsichord work, BWV 894, was later adapted by Bach as the Triple Concerto BWV 1044 (on BACH 718). The four Duets are late works, from the Clavierübung III.

Baroque Music Library