1. Overture in the French Style, BWV 831
   for Harpsichord with Two Manuals
   from Clavierübung Vol. II, 1735
   Ouverture - Courante - Gavotte I/II/I
   Passepied I/II/I - Sarabande - Bourrée I/II
   Gigue – Echo

Rafael Puyana, harpsichord

During Bach's early Leipzig years of the 1720s, his main concern was with his long-stated ambition of providing "a well-regulated church music" requiring cantatas covering the whole liturgical year. This completed, in the 1730s his interests widened to include secular and educational projects, particularly the four semi-educational volumes of works known under the title Clavierübung or Keyboard Exercise prepared and published successively during the 1730s and 40s.

Volume I contains the Six Keyboard Partitas (available on BACH 704-5). Volume II contrasts two national styles: the French Overture on this present disc, and the Italian Concerto (BACH 716). Volume III consists of Chorale Preludes for the organ, with the monumental Prelude & Fugue BWV 552. Volume IV presents the famous Goldberg Variations (BACH 731 & BHP 901).

This second volume was published by Christoph Weigel Jr, Nuremberg in 1735. While the French Overture was specifically entitled Overture nach französischer Art, it more closely resembles the Six Partitas in style and is often referred to as a Partita.

2. Sonata for flute & harpsichord, BWV 1020
   (Allegro) – Adagio – Allegro

3. Sonata for flute & harpsichord, BWV 1030
   Andante – Largo e dolce – Presto – Allegro

4. Sonata for flute & harpsichord, BWV 1031
   Allegro moderato – Sicilian – Allegro

5. Sonata for flute & harpsichord, BWV 1032
   Vivace – Largo e dolce – Allegro

Maxence Larrieu, flute
Rafael Puyana, harpsichord

In December 1717 Bach became Capellmeister at the small Court of Anhalt-Cöthen. His master, the young Prince Leopold, enjoyed a cheerful and cultivated lifestyle complete with instrumental music featuring the latest styles and fashions. He maintained an orchestra of eighteen players, all chosen for their high musical standards. During this period Bach wrote much of his chamber music, including the Sonatas for Flute and Clavier on this disc.

These four Sonatas were composed expressly for three equal melodic lines, the flute, and the two hands of the harpsichord. In this recording an equal balance and prominence is given to keyboard and flute, thus the full effect of a true Trio Sonata can be enjoyed, as fugal themes and melodic phrases are passed from one part to another.

Baroque Music Library