Bach’s Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039: Traverso Triumph

J.S. Bach’s Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039 overflows with sensuous melodies, magical contrapuntal conversations, and joyous rhythmic motion. The Sonata is scored for two flutes and basso continuo. It was probably written between 1736 and 1741 when Bach was director of Leipzig’s Collegium Musicum. The chamber music society presented weekly concerts at the Café Zimmermann coffeehouse. This music was so popular that Bach created a version for viola da gamba and …

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Purcell’s Trio Sonata in F Major, Z 810: The “Golden” Sonata

Henry Purcell (1659-1695), the most significant English composer of the Baroque period, is believed to have spent his entire life in Westminster (now part of London). As a youth, he was a chorister at the Chapel Royal of the monarchs. He attended Westminster School and became a copyist at Westminster Abbey. Later, Purcell became the eminent organist of the Chapel Royal, as well as Westminster Abbey. Following his death at 36, he was …

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Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825: Music of “Spiritual Delight”

Published in 1726, the Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825 is the first of a set of six keyboard suites which J.S. Bach composed between 1725 and 1731. Following the English and French Suites, this music was groundbreaking, both technically and musically. Bach referred to it as his “opus 1,” and offered it “to music lovers in order to refresh their spirits.” Here, Bach is cast in the role of …

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Telemann’s Oboe Concerto in D Minor: Han de Vries and Alma Musica Amsterdam

For the German composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), writing music seems to have been an effortless part of daily life. Celebrated alongside J.S. Bach and Handel as one of the most significant composers of his time, Telemann produced more than 6,000 works. This amazing catalogue includes at least twelve concertos for oboe (or the slightly deeper oboe d’amore) which are set in the Italian concerto da chiesa (church concerto) form. This form features four …

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Brice Montagnoux Plays Couperin: Offertoire sur les Grands Jeux

The French organist and Baroque specialist, Brice Montagnoux, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on April 27. He was 44. The cause of death has not been disclosed. In addition to performing internationally, Montagnoux served as professor of organ at the Conservatoire TPM in Toulon. In 2012, he became director of Institut d’Enseignement Supérieur de la Musique in Aix-en-Provence. Montagnoux is survived by his wife, Eva Villegas, a clarinetist. The two performed together frequently as a …

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Celebratory Bach: From the E Major Partita to the Cantata, BWV 29

J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E Major for solo violin begins with the famous and iconic Preludio.  Sweeping forward in a continuous stream of sixteenth notes, it forms a celebratory musical announcement. The opening bars employ a virtual pedal tone which remains rooted in E major for more than half a minute. Then, the music leaves “home” and moves through a series of adventures, only to return, triumphantly, in the coda. We get …

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Handel’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 11 in A Major: Bremer Barockorchester

George Frideric Handel was one of music history’s most successful entrepreneurs. Handel’s 40-plus Italian operas brought the finest singers of the day to the London stage and earned the composer celebrity status. Yet, in 1738 when opera seria began to fall out of favor with English audiences, Handel transitioned seamlessly to a popular new genre, the dramatic oratorio. As an added attraction, he composed the twelve Concerti Grossi, Op. 6 to be performed between …

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