J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Jean-Pierre Rampal
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Trevor Pinnock
Individual Works:Sonata for Flute in B minor, BWV 1030
Sonata for Flute in C major, BWV 1033
Sonata for Flute in E minor, BWV 1034
Partita for Flute in A minor, BWV 1013
Sonata for Flute in E-flat major, BWV 1031
Sonata for Flute in A major, BWV 1032
Sonata for Flute in E major, BWV 1035
Sonata for Flute in G minor, BWV 1020
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Sony/Columbia
Catalog Number:M2K 39746
Year Released/Recorded:1985
Total Playing Time:2 cd's
Comments:Review by Jan Hanford:

Bach's Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord are among his best known chamber works. Although there are newer recordings, played on historic flutes, I cannot resist Rampal. His tone and interpretative skills are unmatched. He is simply the best. Accompanied by the extraordinary Trevor Pinnock on harpsichord, this recording is a must-have. The sonatas themselves are some of the most beautiful Bach created. The well-known solo sonata in A minor is astonishing. The Sonata in G minor BWV 1020 is commonly performed as a violin sonata but is included here on flute.

A mature, intelligent performance, it is an all-time favourite of mine.

Thomas Hubeart said:

I had been interested in obtaining this recording for a long time, but only recently acquired it when it was offered by Musical Heritage Society. With performers of the caliber of the late Monsieur Rampal and the estimable Mr. Pinnock (with Roland Pidoux on cello for the sonatas that require that instrument), the result is almost guaranteed to be stellar, and so it is here. By the way, the performances are at modern pitch rather than in an "authentic" tuning, no doubt in deference to Rampal.

I especially enjoyed the performance of BWV 1020, a violin sonata here played with flute, which was a new work to me. The fact that this work is currently considered by scholars to be of dubious authenticity and possibly the work of C.P.E. Bach leads to me to pose the rhetorical question of how such judgments are made in the case of this and other Sebastian Bach-attributed chamber pieces (e.g., BWV 1031, which is sometimes also ascribed to Emanuel). It may be that some few of the J.S. Bach works of the Leipzig period had some collaboration from his talent sons, under his watchful eye, but I think we go too far when we second-guess works that C.P.E. in his own careful record-keeping clearly stated were the work of his father (which is not to say that others which have a less than clear provenance and come down to us through non-autograph sources are not fair game for attribution questions).

To return to the recording, I love the judiciousness and dignity with which Rampal endows the phrasing of these works, and Pinnock's sensitive accompaniment makes him an ideal partner. This is, I think, a must-have even if you already have these works on disc. Very much recommended.

  • Thopams HubeartFrom the collection of Jan Hanford.
  • Date First Submitted:04/17/1995