Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata no. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003 — Rachel Barton Pine, violin
J. S. Bach’s six sonatas and partitas are the culmination of one hundred years of multiple-voice writing for unaccompanied violin in Germany. The sonatas are in sonata da chiesa (church sonata) form, which alternates slow and fast movements. The first movement of the A-minor sonata is filled with highly elaborate ornaments. Bach leads directly from the first movement into the fugue, which is brief and compact in structure. The fugue features a countersubject in a descending chromatic line and inverts both themes of the sonata. The Andante, in a contrasting key of C major, features two voices—each with a distinct role, melody and accompaniment—with a third and fourth voice occasionally enriching the harmonies. The last movement is single voiced and in binary form, though with complex multivoiced writing buried within and numerous cross rhythms throughout. Bach wrote out more dynamics in this sonata than in any other within the cycle, with various echoes and a subito piano near the end. In this video violinist Rachel Barton Pine performs Sonata no. 2 on Sunday, March 27, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art in the West Garden Court.