Bach: Flute Sonata in B minor, BWV 1030; Flute Sonata in A, BWV 1032; Flute Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034; Flute Sonata in E, BWV 1035; Suite in C minor, BWV 997

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Flute Sonata in B minor, BWV 1030; Flute Sonata in A, BWV 1032; Flute Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034; Flute Sonata in E, BWV 1035; Suite in C minor, BWV 997
PERFORMER: Irena Grafenauer (flute), Brigitte Engelhard (harpsichord), Jörg Baumann (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 434 996-2 DDD
This is a full-bodied celebration of Bach, the Master. Forget the wooden flute; Grafenauer is unabashed in her modern approach to these sonatas. She operates on a luscious vibrato and heavyweight bottom register, and takes liberties with tempi.

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Philips have omitted the sonatas BWV 1031 and BWV 1033, of doubtful authenticity. Instead, the four flute sonatas definitely by Bach are followed by the delightful Suite in C minor, BWV 997, originally a Partita for lute, but here arranged for flute, harpsichord and cello. Grafenauer obviously relishes the work, bouncing from one register to another with crisp articulation. The ensemble is impressive, cello and harpsichord both displaying responsibilities well beyond the supporting role.

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Of the two sonatas for flute and harpsichord, the B minor reveals Bach’s masterly counterpoint and in-depth understanding of the virtuoso complexities and sensitivities of the flute. Its melancholic Largo e dolce even has Grafenauer toning down her consistent vibrancy for some welcome piano. The contrast works. The Presto, with its syncopated gigue, bursts forth with renewed vigour. Kate Sherriff