Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord BWV 1027 – Adagio"

A happy Sunday to you, my friends.

I have a lovely piece for your enjoyment this morning, & in keeping with the February theme for Early Morning Sunday, it is indeed a duet.  Bach composed this work in 1720 for harpsichord & viola da gamba; it was one of a trio of sonatas for those instruments; BWV 1027  is in G major, while BWV 1028 is in D & BWV 1029 is in G minor. Bach later re-arranged this sonata as a work for flute trio with basso continuo.

Of course the selection here is only the first movement of the piece, the Adagio—which if you are up on either your Italian in general or your Italian as it pertains to music, you know means “slow.” Actually, it comes from the expression “ad agio,” which means “at ease,” & that is a fruitful way of thinking of the tempo—relaxed as opposed to lugubrious.

The two performers are both leading figures in early music. Harpsichordist Hanneke van Proosdij is both a premier soloist & continuo player on harpsichord & baroque organ, as well as being a virtuoso recorder player. She plays regularly with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Festspiel Orchester Goettingen, Voices of Music (of which she is co-director), Concerto Palatino, Magnificat & American Bach Soloists. She has appeared as a guest artist with Hesperion XX, Concerto Köln, Chanticleer, Orchestre d’Ambronay, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra & the Arcadian Academy.

Joanna Blendulf is also an accomplished performer both as a soloist & also as a continuo player; the viola da gamba assumes both roles in early music. Ms Blendulf is a member of Seattle’s Baroque Northwest, though she also performs with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra & American Bach Soloists. She has also participated in a number of chamber music groups.

This is a beautiful piece of music, played by two top-notch musicians—enjoy!

Image links to it source on Wiki Commons: This is the “Bach harpsichord” in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin. According to Wikipedia, “Possibly formerly owned by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, who is supposed to have inherited it from his father J.S. Bach. There is no proof for this story however.”

The photo is the property of Joel Haack (photograph) / Ronald C. Rosier (webmaster), who have given permission for it to be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic & 1.0 Generic license.


  1. Ahhhhhhh... Bach is always great for Sunday mornings! Then again, I was raised in the Lutheran church, so naturally I'd think that. Heh, heh! Thanks, John.

    1. You did come by your liking of Bach honestly! Thanks, Roy.

  2. Beautiful! Ideal for Sunday morning too. I love the sound of a harpsichord; close your eyes and you can imagine the courts of Vienna!

    1. Hi Kat: Yes, I post either Baroque or Renaissance music every Sunday. Maybe we should feature a harpsichord player soon!

  3. I once sold a viol to buy a word processor. I never did finish that novel...

    Decisions, eh?

  4. A treble viol. I was sick of playing bass lines at the time. It was great to play the top line in a string ensemble for a change. Loved playing Gibbons Fantasias.


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