Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord

 
Mira Glodeanu ? Violin
(Marcin Groblicz, 1604)
Frederick Haas ? Harpsichord
(Henri Hemsch, 1751)
Ambronay AMY009
 

 

This remarkable cycle of sonatas for violin and harpsichord was written around 1720 in Coethen where Bach held the post of Kapellmeister (musical director) at the court of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Coethen. Truly unique in the repertoire of the period, the six sonatas occupy a special place in the instrumental music of the 18th Century. While retaining some features of the Baroque epoch, they anticipated the form of the classic Vienna sonata that crystallized in the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
The sonatas vary in mood ? from the light-hearted, carefree atmosphere of the A-Major Sonata to the considerably more austere and solemn F-Minor Sonata. It is clear from the structure and dramatic development of the work that the composer?s intention was to present the sonatas as an integral cycle.
Building on the legacy of such prominent figures in Baroque interpretations as Jordi Saval (violist, composer-conductor born 1941 in Igualada, Spain) or Sigiswald Kuijken (violinist, violist, and conductor born 1944 in Dilbbek, Belgium), Glodeanu and Haas create their own individual style. They seem to belong to a new generation of Baroque musicians and their daring and slightly exaggerated playing brings to mind the 1970s recording of these sonatas by Leonid Kogan and Karl Richter. It is worth noting that the Romanian violinist Mira Glodeanu plays on an extraordinary violin made in 1604 in Krakow by Marcin Groblicz.
The first in a long line of Krakow violin makers, Groblicz was renowned for decorating the necks of his violins with the heads of dragons. Frederick Haas plays on an instrument almost a century and a half younger. Legend has it that this 1751 Hemsch harpsichord was built for the controversial 18th Century French composer and music theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau?s patron ? Pouplinere.

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