Johann Sebastian Bach

Sonata for flute & keyboard in E flat major, BWV 1031

    Description by James Reel

    No copy of this sonata has survived in Bach's hand, yet that's true of all but one of Bach's flute sonatas. Some musicologists suggest that this is the work, at least in part, of C.P.E. Bach or some other composer, yet the authorship has not been disputed seriously enough for this light, entertaining piece to be banned from the Bach catalog. Here, the composer takes note of the emerging galant style of the 1730s, with light textures, simple harmonies, and highly ornamented melodies. The sonata falls into three movements, the pattern familiar from Vivaldi concertos rather than from the more sober, four-movement church and chamber sonatas of the immediately preceding decades. (Bach continued to employ this latter style in several of his other sonatas from this same period.) The first movement, marked Allegro moderato, opens with a keyboard introduction obsessed with a little rolling, melodic figure. The keyboard maintains the basic rhythm of this material throughout the movement (and enjoys further short, solo passages, ritornello style), but the flute offers more sustained, lyrical material. In the slow movement, a Siciliano, the harpsichord is now reduced to a more simplified, tinkling accompaniment role, while the flute plays a particularly haunting melody making good use of the Siciliano's typical dotted pattern. The harpsichord becomes a far more equal partner in the concluding Allegro, an extended movement by the standards of its predecessors. The mood is cheerful, and the keyboard writing remains fairly independent of -- yet always complementary to -- the flute part. The movement also holds touches of counterpoint that move even the most doubtful musicologists to concede that this may, after all, be the work of J.S. Bach.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Siciliano
    3. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Aeolus Music AE 10246
    2016 Archiv Produktion / DG Archiv 4795384
    2016 Claves CL 50401
    2016 Naxos 8573376
    2015 Pavane ADW 7546
    2015 TwoPianists TP 1039183
    2015 C2 Hamburg / Es-Dur ES 2052
    2015 Erato 825646190447
    2015 Erato 0825646190423
    2014 Gramola 98993
    2014 Melodiya MELCD 1002154
    2014 Telos / Telos Music TLS 012
    2013 Alto ALC 2022
    2013 Hyperion CDA 67897
    2013 Ars Produktion 38109
    2013 Doremi Records DHR 6611
    2012 EPR-Classic EPRC 011
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Sony Classical 88725463922
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 Hyperion 22077
    2011 2L 77
    2011 Divox CDX252272
    2010 Decca
    2010 Avie 2196
    2010 Delos 3402
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Camerata Records 20099-100
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Fab Four 232921
    2009 Nimbus 5829/30
    2009 Resort Music / Zebralution
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921744
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 BIS 1689
    2008 MSR Classics 1237
    2008 Premiers Horizons 070136
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946383765
    2007 Oxford 270
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2006 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946374378
    2006 EMI Music Distribution
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Avie 2101
    2006 EtCetera Records 1293
    2005 Brilliant Classics 92215
    2005 Denon Records 17560
    2004 Classical Express 3957025
    2004 ASV / Resonance 3008
    2004 Artemis Classics 1493
    2004 Cantilena Records 5637533026
    2003 Channel Classics 18498
    2003 Document 203397
    2003 Gall (formerly Gallo) 1115
    2003 Golden Tone Records 5637427413
    2003 Boston Records 1058
    2002 DG Archiv 471656
    2002 Hyperion 67264/5
    2002 Glossa 920807
    2002 Bridge 9115
    2001 Signum Classics / Signum UK SIGCD034
    2001 Eclectra 2051
    2000 Arion 268386
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92121
    1999 Teldec 3984-25716-2
    1999 MDG 3090931
    1999 RCA 59112
    1998 Camerata Records 30CM404
    1998 Campanella 130021
    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 BIS 755/756
    1996 Teldec 11427
    1995 Gallo 566
    1995 DG Archiv 447713
    1995 Amon Ra 60
    1995 RCA 62555
    1995 Albany Music Distribution 162
    1995 Soundspell 106
    1995 Capriccio Records 10483
    1994 Philips 438809
    1994 ASV 6108
    1994 Harmonia Mundi 907119
    1993 Arabesque 6589
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 53964
    1993 Crystal Records Dist. 120
    1992 Erato 45830
    1992 RCA 61274
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48200
    1991 Harmonia Mundi 907024
    1990 CBS Records 39746
    Brilliant 93102-VOL1
    Brilliant 99701
    SNE 591
    Denon Records 3868
    Berlin Classics 1007
    Cascade Records 2131
    Brilliant 99701/14
    Brilliant 93102/14
    EMI Music Distribution 65333
    MDG 3461
    Sarx 2033
    Paula Records 99
    Open Loop 008
    GM Recordings 2036
    SSAA
    Challenge Classics 72030
    P&P Classica 019
    Arts Music 47612
    Laura Campbell and Myra Kovary
    Pickwick 1133
    Powder 5144
    Pearl GEMMCD9284
    Perfect Pitch Marketing 88002
    Carriere Classics 13