Johann Sebastian Bach

Sonata for flute & continuo in E minor, BWV 1034

    Description by James Reel

    Like Bach's Sonata in E major, BWV 1035, this is a technically challenging work dedicated to Potsdam flutist Michael Gabriel Fredersdorff, an employee of the flute-loving King Frederick the Great. Or so says a very late copy of the manuscript, not prepared by Bach. There's also an early copy by organist Johann Peter Kellner made around 1725 or 1726, nearly 20 years before BWV 1035 was written. Either the copy with the Fredersdorff dedication is incorrect, or Bach dusted off an old sonata for Fredersdorff's use.

    In any event, BWV 1034, like BWV 1035, is in the four-movement, slow-fast-slow-fast sonata di chiesa, or "church sonata," format. The first movement, Adagio ma non tanto, is usually performed at a fairly deliberate pace despite Bach's ma non tanto admonition. There's something implacable about the music's steady trudge and something obsessive about the melody, which tends to break into repeated two-note units. Next comes an Allegro, based on a burbling flute melody over a descending bass figure; the bass line soon levels out, but it has already started to pull the melody in a downward slide. The flute indulges in rapid passagework as Bach provides a short series of variations on this material. The ensuing Andante begins with an extended introduction by the continuo instruments (usually harpsichord and gamba or cello). Once the flute enters with its spacious theme, the bass line repeats fairly steadily, as if for a chaconne or passacaglia, with the flute singing freely above. The B section delivers a variation on the theme, and the final section essentially repeats the movement's opening measures. The sonata's concluding Allegro is dark and quick, something of a Bourrée, extremely busy and energetic while engaging the continuo in full-fledged counterpoint. It's a flashy finale for an extroverted -- and highly skilled -- soloist.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Adagio ma non tanto
    2. Allegro
    3. Andante
    4. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Vermeer VRM 4001240013
    2017 Hungaroton HCD 32773
    2016 Archiv Produktion 4795384
    2016 Claves CL 50401
    2016 Rondeau ROP 6107
    2016 Naxos 8573376
    2015 Pavane ADW 7546
    2015 Genuin GEN 15348
    2015 Berlin Classics 0300648BC
    2015 Erato 825646190447
    2015 Erato 0825646190423
    2014 Gramola 98993
    2014 Melodiya MELCD 1002154
    2014 Telos / Telos Music TLS 012
    2014 Alpha ALPHA 186
    2013 Alto ALC 2022
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 424
    2013 Hyperion CDA 67897
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790092
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Sony Classical 88725463922
    2012 Red Priest RP 009
    2011 Quartz QTZ 2086
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 Hyperion 22077
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Avie 2196
    2010 Ars Musici 232327
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Delos 3408
    2010 Fab Four 232921
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93814
    2009 Nimbus 5829/30
    2009 Mirare 038
    2009 Resort Music / Zebralution
    2009 Quill Classics 1008
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Coviello Classics 20909
    2009 Melba Recordings 301124
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921744
    2008 BIS 1689
    2008 Premiers Horizons 070136
    2008 Accent 24203
    2007 Laborie / Laborie Classique LC 04
    2007 Oxford 270
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2006 Analekta 298502
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Claves 502511
    2006 Globe 5102
    2006 Warner Classics 4636712
    2006 Avie 2101
    2005 Brilliant Classics 92215
    2005 Cybele 230401
    2005 Denon Records 17560
    2005 Ramée 0404
    2004 Azica Records 71230
    2004 ASV / Resonance 3008
    2004 Syllaria SP 100042
    2004 Artemis Classics 1493
    2004 Cantilena Records 5637533026
    2003 Document 203397
    2003 Accent 22150
    2003 Gall (formerly Gallo) 1115
    2003 Golden Tone Records 5637427413
    2002 Archiv Produktion 471656
    2002 Archiv
    2002 Camerata Records 28CM629
    2002 Hyperion 67264/5
    2002 Glossa 920807
    2002 Bridge 9115
    2002 Firestar 979806
    2001 Classical Express HCX3957024
    2001 Black Box Classics 1060
    2000 Channel Classics 15798
    2000 Arion 268386
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92121
    1999 Teldec 3984-25716-2
    1999 MDG 3090931
    1999 Naxos 554214
    1998 Raumklang 9701
    1998 Opus 111 2638
    1997 Point Classics 267167
    1997 Vanguard 70/71
    1997 Naxos 553754
    1997 CRD Records 33145
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 69642
    1996 Focus Distrbution Group 944
    1996 Harmonia Mundi 390873
    1995 Archiv Produktion 447713
    1995 RCA 62555
    1995 Soundspell 106
    1994 Philips 438809
    1994 ASV 6108
    1994 Chesky Records 680046
    1993 Arabesque 6589
    1993 ASV 113
    1993 Albany Music Distribution 088
    1992 Erato 45830
    1992 RCA 61274
    1992 GHA 126006
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48200
    1991 Harmonia Mundi 907024
    1990 CBS Records 39746
    1989 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77026
    1982 Harmonia Mundi 790065
    Brilliant 93102-VOL1
    Brilliant 99701
    Haagsche Hofmuzieck
    Denon Records 3868
    Berlin Classics 1007
    Cascade Records 2131
    Brilliant 93102/15
    Brilliant 99701/15
    Sarx 2033
    Denon Records 377331
    McDonald-Bianculli Flute & Gui
    Challenge Classics 72030
    Powder 5144