JS Bach - Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord | Somm SOMMCD06642

JS Bach - Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord


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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD06642

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 31st March 2023



SOMM Recordings announces a double-disc set of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord brilliantly performed by two virtuosos of their instruments, Adrian Butterfield (violin) and Silas Wollston (harpsichord).

The selection of eight sonatas includes six works for violin and obbligato harpsichord (BWV 1014-1019), likely composed between 1720 and 1723 during Bach’s final years in Cöthen, and the later Violin Sonatas in G major (BWV 1021) from 1732, and early (though belatedly catalogued) E minor (BWV 1023) from around 1709.

Bonus tracks include three alternative movements composed for the BWV 1019 Sonata in G major that illustrate the development of Bach’s thinking in relation to sonata form and intimate musical expression.

These intricately designed sonatas also serve to reveal Bach’s innovative way of employing the harpsichord’s singing voice as an equal to the violin and are surely precursors to the rich sonata tradition that emerged in the 19th century.

Butterfield and Wollston’s erudite booklet notes place the sonatas within the context of Bach’s own musical inheritance and influences while arguing for their abiding appeal: “More than 300 years after their composition, they still sound excellent, give much joy and continue to tug at the listener’s heartstrings”.

Making his SOMM debut, Silas Wollston is partnered by Adrian Butterfield, whose previous releases for the label feature him alongside London Handel Players colleagues in Handel’s Complete Sonatas & Works for Violin and Continuo with Katherine Sharman (cello) and Laurence Cummings (harpsichord), described by Early Music Review as “required listening” (SOMMCD068); the Seven Trio Sonatas, op.5, judged “assured and surprisingly lyrical” by Gramophone (SOMMCD044); and Geminiani’s Complete Sonatas, op.1 (SOMMCD248-2), featuring performances that International Record Review declared “want for nothing in terms of technical brilliance and musical integrity”.

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