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Composed in Cothen between 1719-20, the contrapuntally rich yet always tuneful six violin sonatas were then revived some ten years later by Bach for performance. Bach would probably have played the harpsichord but it would have been a difficult decision for him as the instrument dearest to his heart was the violin.
The first movement marked Andante, Dolce, is full of pathos and intense sadness but maintains a nobility and stature in its weaving contrapuntal lines. The second movement is a joyous and invigorating fugue, which has an exciting climax at the conclusion of the central section. The violin states the first theme which contains an element of ceremony and swagger which is then taken over by the harpsichord. In the beautiful Andante un poco third movement Bach marks his Alberti style bass staccato sempre while the violin and right hand of the keyboard echo each other in canonical imitation. The mesmerizing brilliance of the Presto Finale, which has a noble and heroic element, especially the descending passages first on the harpsichord and then the violin have great emotional potential for performer and listener alike.
Reviews of BACH, J.S. Sonata No.2 for Violin & Clavier BWV 1015 transcribed for the Viola by Gerald Manning
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