Johann Sebastian Bach

Trio Sonata for organ No. 5 in C major, BWV 529 (BC J5)

    Description by Blair Johnston

    It was once thought that all six of J.S. Bach's trio sonatas for organ (BWV 525-530) were composed in or about 1727; now, however, the period during which he is believed to have worked on these fascinating pieces has been expanded, and a composition date as late as 1731 has been assigned to the Trio Sonata for organ No. 5 in C major, BWV 529. It is, like the others of the set, a work in three movements in which the traditional three voices of the Baroque trio sonata are all assigned to a single keyboard player -- one upper instrument voice for each hand and the basso continuo to the feet (pedals). And so, in typical Johann Sebastian fashion, something very new is created from something very old -- and this process represents an important, if not widely known, step in the evolution of the sonata as it is now generally understood.

    Freshness of instrumentation and layout aside, the music of BWV 529 is representative of the Baroque chamber sonata tradition. The normal sonata-style imitative gesture is made to open the Allegro first movement; here a bit of invertible counterpoint is used, the second voice entering before it properly "should," to add a little interest to the standard technique. The main subject of the movement has two distinct elements to it: sixteenth notes that oscillate around a fixed internal pedal point and a follow-up idea in bouncy eighth notes. Precious little material is added as the movement moves forward -- what we have is essentially an ingenious 155-bar working-out of just two contrasting thoughts.

    The following Largo is as florid a movement as is to be found in the organ sonatas; the two highly ornamented upper voices weave in and around one another atop a steady bass line. The Allegro finale is the most typical trio-sonata movement in BWV 529; one can indeed imagine the opening bars having been penned by Arcangelo Corelli, though the following compact and elaborate working-out of this basic contrapuntal cell would have been entirely beyond the scope of the Roman master.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro
    2. Largo
    3. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Claves DO 1930
    2019 Harmonia Mundi HMM 90233536
    2018 Decca
    2018 MDG MDG 3160127
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95310BR
    2016 Lawo Classics LWC 1087
    2016 Dynamic CDS 7739
    2016 Decca / London
    2016 Loft Recordings LRCD 1146
    2016 Alpha ALPHA 237
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95166BR
    2016 Soundset SR 1076
    2016 Rondeau ROP 608586
    2016 Paschen Records PR 160032
    2015 Ligia LIDI 0104274
    2015 Opus Arte OACD 9037D
    2015 Querstand VKJK 1426
    2015 Erato 0825646190423
    2015 Musica Omnia MO 0612
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94850BR
    2014 Nimbus NI 2583
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94406
    2014 Christophorus CHR 77392
    2014 Stone Records 5060192780468
    2013 La Dolce Volta LDV 1180
    2013 Antes Edition
    2011 Audite 92548
    2011 Fuga Libera 572
    2011 Passacaille PAS 967
    2011 Coro COR 16095
    2011 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2011 Erato 2564676018
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778628
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 862-8
    2010 Avie 2199
    2010 Regent 301
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    2009 Ricercar 289
    2009 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler 8034
    2009 Meridian Records 84209
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Alpha Productions 152
    2009 Challenge Classics 72314
    2009 Audite 97470
    2008 Audite 92560
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 09393
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4694202
    2008 Loft Recordings 1102
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 423779
    2007 Musical Concepts 191
    2007 BIS 1527/28
    2007 Analekta 24022-43
    2007 Haenssler 98504
    2007 Onyx ONYX 4020
    2007 Coviello Classics COV 50501
    2007 Pergola Recordings 1036
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2007 Erato 4699028
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    2001 Signum Classics / Signum UK SIGCD034
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    1999 Harmonia Mundi 290772
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    1995 London 444410
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    1995 Capriccio Records 10040
    1995 Raven 300
    1995 Novalis 150130
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    1994 EMI Music Distribution 65398
    1994 Novalis 150020
    1994 BIS 443/44
    1994 Harmonia Mundi 907119
    1994 Erato 96358
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    1994 Dynamic 77
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    1993 RCA 61603
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    Brilliant 93102-VOL6
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