Bach: Oboe Sonatas, BWV 1020, 1030b, 1031 & 1033; Trio Sonata in C, BWV 529

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: Oboe Sonatas, BWV 1020, 1030b, 1031 & 1033; Trio Sonata in C, BWV 529
PERFORMER: Gail Hennessy (oboe); Nicholas Parle (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 034
‘Music for oboe and harpsichord’ by JS Bach? 1 doubt this title would pass a Trade Descriptions test, since the CD contains no music originally written for oboe and three of its six compositions are of uncertain provenance. Still, Gail Hennessy and Nicholas Parle have only followed Bach’s own practice in adapting (very persuasively) for one instrument music first intended for another. And if some pieces here are more likely the work of CPE Bach and/or JSB’s students, they still make engaging listening.

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Hennessy and Parle play one solo work apiece. His is the C minor Prelude and Fugue from Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier, she opts for the C major Sonata, BWV 1033, initially for flute and here shorn of the clumsy continue part that led to the questioning of Bach’s authorship. Together they play two other ‘doubtful’ pieces, BWV 1020 and BWV 1031 (possibly by CPE and galant-inflected), plus the two undisputed JSB masterpieces that provide the disc’s substance and pith – (flute sonata) BWV 1030b and (organ trio sonata) BWV 529, both in the three-movement ‘concerto’ style favoured in Dresden.

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Hennessy and Parle combine well, with graceful fluency and nimble precision. An unassuming disc, perhaps, but with an attractive twist. Graham Lock