Bach composed during his residence in Cöthen, a set of three sonatas and partitas 3, between 1703 and 1720. This is a very prolific period when he collaborated with chamber ensembles and he composed mainly instrumental works like Brandenburg concertos, the French suites. The high technical level of the musicians allowed him to add complexity in his works.
Structure of Sonata N.2
Sonatas and partitas for violin are a set of six works: three sonatas and three partitas.
The sonatas are composed of four movements and partitas with a variable number of dance moves.
Style of Sonata N.2
The sonatas adhere to the classical structure of sonata da chiesa (church sonata of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), with the slow-fast-slow-fast tempo and a second movement structure.
Sonata N.2, Movement I – Grave
This is a grave rhapsodic opening for the Sonata No.2 in A minor, BWV 1003. With such a slow tempo, an ornamented melody waves with ease, through high contrasts and ornaments releasing the potential of melodic minor mode rhythms.
Sonate N.2, Grave, Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata N.2, Movement II – Fugue
As in the three sonatas, the second movement is the focus of the piece and a fugue. Complex by its size and technique, the fugue pushes forward relentlessly with a structure of very dense counterpoint.
Sonate N.2, Fugue de Jean-Sébastien Bach par Hilary Hahn
Sonata N.2, Movement III – Andante
Bach set the third movement, independently, by an Andante tempo and a contrasting key. Writing is more homophonic in this case, with a calm melody that provides a needed break after the remarkable energy of the fugue movement II.
Sonata N.2, andante, de Johann-Sebastian Bach por Mariya Nesterovska
Sonata N.2, Movement IV – Allegro
A light and lively allegro, with rich rhythmic and melodic variations, back to A minor and closure of the piece.
Featured image, Adolph Menzel painting, with Frederick the Great, Franz Benda and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.