Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata no. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001 — Rachel Barton Pine, violin
J. S. Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas are the culmination of an almost century-old tradition of multiple-voice writing for unaccompanied violin in Germany. The sonatas are in sonata da chiesa (church sonata) form: slow-fast-slow-fast. Each pair of opening movements is an adagio and fugue, joined by an unresolved chord. The first movement of the G-minor sonata is covered in highly elaborate ornaments, in ternary form, which provides a wonderful opportunity to compare the different ornaments of the parallel first and last sections. Bach leads directly from the first movement into the fugue, which is brief and compact in structure. The third movement is a lilting siciliana, which conjures up a trio sonata, with a melodic bass line and two treble voices in duet, in the contrasting key of B flat. The last movement is single voiced and in binary form, though with complex multivoiced writing buried within and numerous cross rhythms throughout. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata no. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001, for solo violin on Sunday, March 27, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art in the West Building, West Garden Court.