Johann Sebastian Bach

Trio Sonata for organ No. 4 in E minor, BWV 528 (BC J4)

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    It is generally accepted that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his six Sonatas for Organ for his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, as the not always reliable W.F. often asserted. There is no strong reason to disbelieve it, for they appeared at about the right time and, moreover, are teaching pieces par excellence. There is a world of difference between the familiar Bach organ works in the mold of the various preludes or toccatas and fugues and the Six Sonatas. Compared to those works, these Sonatas are light, transparent in texture, never concerned with display or Baroque flamboyance. They are Trio-Sonatas, works in three voices, irrespective of how many actual players were needed. The voices in these works are independent: one in either hand, the third on the pedals. Ordinarily, each hand plays on its own manual. Thus, the Sonatas test and cultivate the student's physical and mental ability to coordinate all these separate motions of hands and feet, the interpretive ability to project each voice equally and clearly to the audience, and the musical ability to make them meaningful.

    All but the sixth sonata are, at least in part, derived from earlier Bach works. The Fourth Sonata is in the form of a concerto for organ. The first movement is a Vivace preceded by a short slow introduction. It is a transcription of a sinfonia of the cantata Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 (1723). This number was already a trio for oboe d'amore, viola, and bass line. It is in a ritornello form, with a lively main episode interspersed with contrasting sections. The slow movement seems to have originated as a separate piece. The concluding poco allegro section is vigorous and tests coordination by throwing in triplets that cross hands.

    There are various arrangements of this organ sonata as actual trio sonatas, with one or two soloists and keyboard.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Adagio
    2. Vivace
    3. Andante
    4. Un poco Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Claves DO 1930
    2019 Footprint Records FR 103
    2018 Alba ABCD 424
    2018 Decca
    2018 Rondeau ROP 6160
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 808
    2016 Naïve V 5426
    2016 Lawo Classics LWC 1087
    2016 Decca / London
    2016 Alpha ALPHA 237
    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 ZYX Classics CLA 101892
    2015 Musica Omnia MO 0612
    2014 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT 351
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94850BR
    2014 Nimbus NI 2583
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94406
    2014 Stone Records 5060192780468
    2013 Rondeau ROP 6046
    2013 La Dolce Volta LDV 1180
    2013 Editions Hortus 20
    2013 Antes Edition
    2012 Regent REGCD 328
    2011 Musica Rediviva MRCD 016
    2011 Fuga Libera 572
    2011 Passacaille PAS 967
    2011 Coro COR 16095
    2011 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2011 Erato 2564676018
    2011 Move MD3340
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 862-8
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778628
    2010 Avie 2199
    2010 ZYX CLA 101072
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 ZYX Classics 1023
    2009 Ricercar 289
    2009 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009 Meridian Records 84209
    2009 Alpha Productions 139
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Alpha Productions 152
    2009 Challenge Classics 72314
    2009 JAV Recordings JAV178
    2008 ZYX Music 10316
    2008 Solal 003
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 09393
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4694202
    2008 Loft Recordings 1102
    2007 Musical Concepts 191
    2007 BIS 1527/28
    2007 Analekta 24022-43
    2007 Linn Records 275
    2007 Coviello Classics COV 50501
    2007 Pergola Recordings 1036
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2007 Erato 4699028
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 ATMA Classique 2511
    2006 Fleurs de Lys 23086
    2006 Raven 875
    2006 Arsis 405
    2005 ATMA Classique 22299
    2005 Priory Records 800
    2004 Motette 10821
    2004 Archiv Produktion 000185602
    2004 Alpha Productions 027
    2004 dB Productions 96
    2003 Art & Music 1539/58
    2003 Calliope 3713/4
    2003 Meridian Records 84471
    2002 Classical Express 3957055
    2002 CPO 999866
    2002 BIS 1345
    2002 CBC Records 2009
    2002 Hyperion 44121/36
    2001 Point 5149
    2001 Virgin 45192
    2001 Naxos 8 555367
    2000 Claves 500405/6
    2000 Pro Musica 9038
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73878
    2000 Archiv Produktion 463712
    2000 Gothic Records 49116
    2000 Pavane 7432
    2000 Chandos CHAN0654
    2000 Nimbus 5647
    2000 Glossa 920805
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 290772
    1999 Teldec 3984-25713-2
    1999 Valois 4425
    1999 Berlin Classics 0093642
    1999 Haenssler 92099
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 2957055
    1999 Archiv Produktion 419904
    1998 Camerata Records 30CM404
    1998 Sony Music Distribution 60290
    1998 Haenssler 98113
    1997 Motette 11941
    1997 Point Classics 265032
    1997 Arabesque 6694
    1996 Gasparo Records 321
    1996 Teldec 94460
    1996 Chandos 0590
    1996 Hyperion 66843
    1995 Gallo 611
    1995 London 444410
    1995 Raven 300
    1995 Archiv Produktion 447277
    1995 Aca Digital 20022
    1994 BIS 397/98
    1994 Erato 96358
    1994 Erato 96746
    1994 Naxos 550653
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 907055
    1990 Hyperion 66390
    Arkay Records 6129
    Brilliant 93102-VOL6
    Brilliant 99706
    Brilliant 93102/149
    Brilliant 99706/11
    Lyrichord LEMS8045
    Analekta 4028
    Digital Concerto 615
    Powder Classics 5056
    Melba Recordings 301125
    Ligia 104069/70
    Koch Discover International 5406
    Ligia 104081
    EMI Music Distribution
    Archiv Produktion 463716
    MusicMasters 67182
    Hyperion 44121
    Forlane 16686/87
    Capriccio Records 10037
    Vivace 539
    PCM Records 7376
    Erato 88146
    Cascade Records 2133