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Sonata in E Flat MAjor BWV 1031

by J S Bach

Sonata in E Flat Major BWV 1031 1st Movement Allegro Moderato 

Sonata in E Flat Major BWV 1031  2nd Movement Siciliano

Sonata in E Flat MAjor by J S Bach

The Sonata in E♭ major for flute and harpsichord, probably by J. S. Bach (BWV 1031), is a sonata in 3 movements: * Allegro moderato (in E♭ major) * Siciliano (in G minor) – unusually, this movement is in the mediant minor key (the relative minor of the dominant key) * Allegro (in E♭ major) The Bach scholar Robert Marshall has argued that the sonata was composed by J. S. Bach, since it was attributed to him by two independent sources, Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in the manuscript copy of the work in his handwriting, and Christian Friedrich Penzel, Bach’s last pupil.The musicologist Jeanne Swack has suggested alternatively that BWV 1031 was “modelled” on a previous work for flute in E-flat by Johann Joachim Quantz (QV2:18 in the Augsbach catalog), which survives in a version for flute and obbligato harpsichord and in another version for flute, violin, and continuo. The similarities she cites are based primarily on structural and compositional considerations, as the musical themes are clearly different. However, Swack suggests either that Quantz composed both QV2:18 and BWV 1031, or that Bach (or another composer) used the Quantz original as a model for composing BWV 1031, which, she notes, is “much more complex and extensive.”. (en)

 This sonata is grouped in the Sonatas 1-3 out of the 6 sonatas written by Bach. These sonatas are contrapuntal in style meaning there is voice play between the parts and also in particular this one voice play also within the  parts as well. Whatever the story is about who wrote this sonata really doesn’t matter in the end , its the music that matters and it is a gorgeous sonata to play. One that demands substantial musical thought and insight.

The big considerations with the Allegro Moderato is which way will the performer lean tempo wise- to the Allegro or the moderato? How will the performer bring out the conversations? what ornamentation will be used? What articulations and approach to the movement will they take?

With the Siciliano  – How will the performer treat the dotted rhythm motive? Will they inegale the semi quavers? What tempo will they choose? Do they see this movement as a dance? or a lullaby? or neither?