Johann Sebastian Bach

Sonata for solo violin No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005

    Description by Blair Johnston

    The first two sonatas and the three partitas of J.S. Bach's six sonatas and partitas for solo violin make considerable demands on performers. However, the Sonata for solo violin No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005 is in a class by itself; it is so challenging a piece on every front that even the usually unflappable Jascha Heifetz used to break out in a cold sweat and suffer nervous bow-shakes when playing it, and it is a work of such consummate mastery, so perfectly planned and balanced, that any flaw in the performance sticks out like a sore thumb. In all fairness, Bach has gone beyond the bounds of reason in this grand Sonata -- the violinist is asked to play music that might give a harpsichordist a headache (indeed, Bach arranged the Sonata's first movement for harpsichord) -- but the music is so rewarding that all the toil is worth it in the end. Surely this satisfaction comes in part from the unreal, some have even said mystical, effect of a single string instrument producing such rich, dense music without the benefit of any real bass capability. Like each of the other two sonatas in the solo violin volume, the C major Sonata has four movements. They are: Adagio, Fuga, Largo, and Allegro assai.

    Whereas the opening movements of the previous two solo violin sonatas are written in highly embellished, mock-improvisational style, that of the third sonata lacks ornamentation altogether. Instead it evolves from a single, repeating dotted rhythm -- one harmonic layer is added and then another, the steady pulsation being interrupted only twice (once near the beginning and once near the end) for the purpose of expanded and enriching major cadences. The Fuga, which, like all the solo violin fugues, is actually a fugue/Baroque concerto hybrid, ranks among the longest fugues, measure-wise, ever created by any composer for any instrument or ensemble. The subject is derived from the chorale "Komm, heiliger Geist" and is turned upside-down midway through the fugue. The splendid Largo in F major has achieved some fame outside the Sonata, while the Allegro assai finale is the same kind of fleet-footed binary-form piece that closes each of the other two solo violin sonatas.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Adagio
    2. Fuga. Alla breve
    3. Largo
    4. Allegro assai

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 BIS BIS 2197
    2019 Solo Musica SM 298
    2019 Brilliant Classics BRI 95757
    2019 ECM B003131102
    2018 Doremi Records DHR 80612
    2018 Audite 23434
    2018 Channel Classics CCS 39018
    2018 In a Circle ICR 010
    2018 Aparte AP 176
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon 4835050
    2018 Navona Records NV 6159
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 019
    2017 CAvi-music AVI 8553381
    2017 Accentus ACC 30405
    2017 Linn Records CKD 585
    2017 ABC Classics
    2017 Discovery Music & Vision DMV 120
    2017 Albany Records TROY 1662/63
    2017 Nimbus Alliance NI 6331
    2017 New Focus FCR 178
    2017 Nimbus Alliance NI 6351
    2017 Ondine ODE 12992D
    2017 Pentatone Classics / PentaTone Classics PTC 5186682
    2017 Belle Ame CDSMBA 019
    2017 MSR Classics MS 1594
    2017 Solo Musica SM 267
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796220
    2016 Champs Hill Records CHRCD 118
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295944162
    2016 Analekta AN 287723
    2016 Berlin Classics 0300721BC
    2016 Harmonia Mundi HM 2016
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95424BR
    2016 Bridge BCD 9460
    2016 Oehms Classics OC 013
    2016 Linn Records BKD 366
    2016 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 15036
    2016 Linn / Linn Records CKD 548
    2016 Avie AV 2360
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777051
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777815
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2016 Troubadisc TROCD 01444
    2015 Erato 2564622009
    2015 Ja Hsieh
    2015 Gega GD 16
    2015 Onyx / Onyx Classics ONYX 4123
    2015 Canary Classics CC 14
    2015 Supraphon SU 41862
    2015 Naïve E 8939
    2015 Nimbus Records NI 2581
    2015 Sony Classical 88875126182
    2015 Warner Classics 0825646129812
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1605
    2015 Pomegranate Music POMCD 1928
    2015 Albany Music Distribution TROY 1605/06
    2015 Centaur Records CRC 3374
    2014 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT 348
    2014 Yarlung Records YAR 65007
    2014 Rewind REW 515
    2014 DUX / Dux Records DUX 0978
    2014 Warner Classics 5099901928129
    2014 Es-Dur ES2043
    2014 Oehms Classics OC 896
    2013 Centaur Records CRC 3206
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 868
    2013 Phi LPH 008
    2013 Musica Omnia 0503
    2013 EMI Music Distribution
    2013 Ondine ODE 12412D
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94667
    2013 Centaur Records CRC 32833284
    2013 RCA Red Seal 8876544015
    2013 Skarbo DSK 11088
    2013 Dynamic CDS 75812
    2013 Centaur Records CRC 3225
    2012 Bridge BRIDGE 9358AB
    2012 EMI Classics 6787412
    2012 Pan Classics PC 10286
    2012 Channel Classics CCS SEL 6212
    2011 Nimbus Alliance NI 6142
    2011 Transart Live TR102
    2011 Musicaphon M 56925
    2011 Gramola GRAM 98883
    2011 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT110902
    2011 EMI Classics 6790602
    2011 Camerata Records CMCD 201012
    2011 Meridian Records CDE 8459562
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908528124
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Linn Records CKD 366
    2011 Pilfink Records JJVCD54
    2011 Testament SBT 61471
    2010 Decca
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 EMI Classics 6482982
    2010 Naïve V 5181
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 902059
    2010 Berlin Classics 0016732
    2010 Nimbus 2557/8
    2010 Apex
    2010 Teldec 256468103
    2009 Onyx ONYX 4040
    2009 Camerata Records 15081/82
    2009 Ondine 1128
    2009 Blue Saphir 1030
    2009 Naxos 8572306
    2009 Con Brio 231
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Aeon 0535
    2009 Decca
    2009 Decca 4781149
    2009 Document 231753
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Arte Nova Classics 675010
    2008 Naxos 8570277
    2008 Berlin Classics 0149292
    2008 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099952203
    2008 Erato
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Apex 4696157
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 88697306012
    2008 Skarbo 1072
    2008 IDIS 6535/6
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921731
    2008 Alphée / Zebralution
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 721742
    2007 Auris Subtilis 5021-2000
    2007 Linn Records CKD 300
    2007 Haenssler 98250
    2007 Document 231122
    2007 Ancalagon 132
    2007 Eroica Distribution 3304
    2007 Regis Records 2077
    2007 Apex 4643752
    2007 Gaudeamus 359
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2007 Orion Master Recordings 83119
    2007 Melodiya MELCD 1001000
    2006 IDIS 6490/1
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Aeolus Music 10044
    2006 Canal Grande 6010
    2006 Alpha Productions 090
    2006 Brilliant Classics 92287
    2006 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006 Music & Arts CD1187
    2006 Biddulph Recordings 80211
    2006 Philips 4757552
    2006 Classics & Jazz
    2006 Philips
    2006 ECM / ECM New Series
    2006 ECM 000762102
    2006 Biddulph Recordings 80217
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 77138
    2005 EMEC (Editorial de Musica Espanola) 060/1
    2005 Artemis Records 1246
    2005 Brilliant Classics 92215
    2005 Veritas
    2005 Warner Classics
    2005 ABC Classics 4768051
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Naxos 8557563-64
    2005 Berlin Classics 9275
    2005 CP2 CP2 118119
    2005 Naxos 8557809
    2005 Doremi Records 7774
    2005 PentaTone Classics 5186072
    2005 Electrecord 583/84
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 76811
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 64123
    2004 Virgin 62340
    2004 Warner Music
    2004 Brilliant Classics 92391
    2004 Sony Classical 92749
    2004 Virgin Classics 62374
    2003 Droffig Recordings 10
    2003 Testament 1257
    2003 Warner Classics
    2003 Aura Classics 0261
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000204902
    2003 Musical Heritage Society 5260819
    2003 Testament 1292
    2003 Multisonic 310487
    2003 Bach Guild 1246
    2002 Channel Classics 2498
    2002 Classica d'Oro 2014
    2002 Teldec 81229
    2002 Naxos 110964
    2001 Haenssler 92568
    2001 Parnassus Records 96009/10
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 66869
    2001 Teldec 81235
    2001 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472775272
    2000 Haenssler 92110
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73644
    2000 Astree E 8678
    2000 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243567197
    2000 Bridge 9101
    2000 Arte Nova 72113
    2000 Auvidis 4865
    2000 Analekta 23147/8
    2000 Eroica Distribution 3025
    2000 Arion 268296
    2000 Amadis 7187
    2000 Linn Records 128
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25716-2
    1999 IDIS 328/9
    1999 Teldec 3984-25715-2
    1999 Masterpiece 7901
    1999 Haenssler 92119
    1999 Naxos 554423
    1999 Dynamic 164/1-2
    1998 Vox 7901
    1998 Delos 3232
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 457701
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon
    1997 Linn Records 029
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 556416-2
    1997 Virgin 45205
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453004
    1997 Hyperion 22009
    1997 Valois 4427
    1997 Sony Classical 62793
    1997 Sony Classical 62793
    1997 Biddulph Recordings LAB032
    1996 Well-Tempered Productions 5180
    1996 MDG 3330614
    1996 Testament 2090
    1996 Centaur Records 2472/73
    1996 BMG 61734
    1995 Orfeo 400951
    1995 RCA Gold Victor Seal 61748
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 445526
    1995 Naxos 553193
    1995 Centaur Records 2147/48
    1994 Philips 438736
    1994 Philips
    1994 Decca 440031
    1994 Virgin 45089
    1994 Orfeo 130852
    1994 Naxos 550570
    1993 Vanguard 8021
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64494
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64793
    1992 Elektra 73030
    1989 Capitol 63035
    1988 EMI Music Distribution 49483
    Brilliant 93102-VOL1
    Brilliant 99701
    Denon Records 74485
    Image Recordings
    AMPCAST
    Adda 581134
    Smithsonian Collection of Reco 10382
    Meridian Records 84283
    Deutsche Grammophon 413810
    RCA 60971
    Warner Music
    RCA 7708
    MCA 99841
    Supraphon 1806
    MDG 3051028
    Fone 9027
    Musicaimmagine Records 10033
    Brilliant 92391/21
    Brilliant 93102/11
    Brilliant 99701/11
    Brilliant Classics 93668/21
    Agora Musica 110
    Accord 200562
    ASV 454
    Erato 45805
    Alex Deych
    Celle-stial Records
    Deutsche Grammophon 423294
    Arts Music 47582-2
    Garrett Fischbach
    ECM 000506502
    Fono Enterprise 99392
    Cascade Records 2124
    Catalpa Classics 30101
    Arlecchino 46
    EMI Classics 98667
    Willow Shade Records 012
    One-Eleven 90033
    Channel Classics 14498
    Musical Heritage 5091707