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Bach: Trio Sonatas
01 May 2000
Originally recorded in 1999
St Bartholemews Church, Orford, Suffolk
Total Time - 72:02
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Arranged by Richard Boothby
Trio Sonata, BWV 525
in E flat major - Es-Dur - mi bémol majeur
(transposed to F major - F-Dur - fa majeur)
Trio Sonata, BWV 526
in C minor - c-Moll - ut mineur
Trio Sonata, BWV 527
in D minor - d-Moll - ré mineur
Adagio e dolce
Trio Sonata, BWV 528
in E minor - e-Moll - mi mineur
Un poc' allegro
Trio Sonata, BWV 529
in C major - C-Dur - ut majeur
Trio Sonata, BWV 530
in G minor - G-Dur - sol majeur
The Purcell Quartet performs Bach’s six organ sonatas arranged by Richard Boothby.
Having seemingly neglected the most important chamber music genre of his time (the two-violin trio sonata), Richard Boothby was delighted to discover that Bach had in fact written a set of six, but for organ alone. Boothby then set about arranging the sonatas for two violins, viola da gamba and harpsichord.
The Purcell Quartet has established itself as one of the leading interpreters of Bach’s music. Its complete harpsichord concerto series was well received, and its recent Lutheran Mass discs were hailed as revelatory.
Bach’s six sonatas, BWV 525-530 have long been regarded as one of the pinnacles of the organ repertoire.
As a collection the sonatas appear to date from Bach’s early Leipzig years, perhaps towards the end of the 1720s, though several movements were originally destined for other keyboard works. According to Forkel, Bach wrote them for his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann, and certainly they have something of the character of a didactic work. The first three sonatas are on the whole more straightforward to play than the last three and are perhaps less challenging intellectually. The fugal conclusion to the second sonata might be regarded as an exception to this generalisation, and indeed the second group of works includes no slow movement more expansive than the lovingly prolonged 12/8 Adagio of the first sonata.
The fifth sonata, on the other hand, begins as playfully as the second; yet its first movement is a ternary structure of some weight, its slow movement is more profuse than its equivalents in the first group, and the finale is a tour-de-force of contrapuntal rigour, albeit in a concertante idiom. The outer movements of the fourth sonata have an almost obsessive character, while the final work manages to combine density of thought with an entirely positive mood in its own outer movements. Only the middle movement of the fourth sonata, which survives in two earlier versions, adopts the more relaxed poise of the first group.
‘The performances are highly persuasive: articulation is vivid, balance exemplary, contrasting sections are well judged and there’s an overall shapeliness to the playing, even at its most robust and gutsy. A fine release beautifully recorded – well worth exploring.’
Classic CD on CHAN 0591 (Biber)
‘The Purcell Quartet specialise in Baroque music. These excellent musicians play on original instruments and adopt a historical approach to performance. They infuse this simple music with incredible energy and verve and Chandos provides a vibrant and crystal clear recording…’
Classic CD on CHAN 0502 (Vivaldi)
‘This CD is enthralling and utterly addictive, and I recommend it highly.’
Early Music Review on CHAN 0636 (Volume 3)
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