Johann Sebastian Bach

Partita ? Sonatas for Recorder and Obbligato Harpsichord

Nathalie Rotstein-Raguis, flutes a bec / Recorders
Mario Raskin, clavecin / Harpsichord

Label La Follia Madrigal
http://lafollia.com
LFM 12031

PRESENTATION

The repertory and the expressive resources of the recorder are generally unfamiliar to the general public. The esthetic of its timbre is related to that of the organ, while providing it with the richness and depth of wood. The sonatas for violin by Johann Sebastian Bach lend themselves particularly well to performance on this instrument, which reveals them in a new light.

All the sonatas on this disc are among the sonatas for obbligato (or concertant) harpsichord; they differ from the sonatas with thoroughbass in their contrapuntal and harmonic conception, thus evincing a texture in three voices of equal importance, in constant, flowing dialogue between the two instruments, a balance of the voices that the recording techniques chosen were intent on enhancing.

In his recording the widespread practice of ?re-instrumentation? or self-transcription for different instrumental forces, affords the modern instrumentalist a liberty that enables the recorder to give life and breath, given the warm qualities of timbre that are its hallmark, to a repertoire of incomparable richness.

The programme of this recording was designed to highlight the warm sonorities of the harpsichord and the recorder following three facets: sonatas transcribed for flute, those written for flute and the Partita for flute solo.
The BWV 1017 and 1029 sonatas were written for violin. The transcriptions consist in modifying keys and octave transposition so that the writing is adapted to the recorder range. No other modification was made. However, it is worth noting that the practice of transcription was particularly widespread from the Middle Ages through Bach?s era. Johann Sebastian Bach himself revisited any number of his own works by modifying the instrumentation.

The BWV 1020 and 1030 sonatas are among the sonatas for flute, whereby the very question of instrumentation may be raised in relation with certain manuscripts. The sonata BWV 1020, while still published under the name of J.?S.?Bach in certain editions, is nowadays attributed rather to one of his sons, Carl Philipp Emmanuel. Its stylistic difference from the other sonatas, present to be sure but by virtue of its position in this recording, provides an opening onto the future.

The sonata BWV 1030 represents one of the finest sonatas for flute; the first movement Andante is the longest ever written by Bach in his flute sonatas, the motifs move about in responses and dovetailing between the two instruments in a context of considerable textural density.

The Partita BWV 1013 for solo flute presents an enigma for any wind instrumentalist: practically no rest or articulation throughout the suite of dances. Bestowing meaning on the work thus becomes ceaseless exploration of phrasing within perpetual questioning.

Nathalie ROTSTEIN-RAGUIS
Translation Kurt LUDERS

Paris, le 10 juillet 2012

Johann Sebastian Bach

PARTITA - SONATES pour flute a bec et clavecin oblige
Jean Sebastien BACH

Partita ? Sonatas for Recorder and Obbligato Harpsichord

Nathalie Rotstein-Raguis, flutes a bec / Recorders
Mario Raskin, clavecin / Harpsichord

LFM 12031
Label La Follia Madrigal
http://lafollia.com

PRESENTATION

Le repertoire et les ressources expressives de la flute a bec sont bien souvent inconnus du grand public. L'esthetique de sa sonorite l'apparente a l'orgue, tout en lui conferant la richesse et profondeur du bois. Les sonates pour violon de Jean-Sebastien Bach se pretent particulierement bien a la couleur de cet instrument, les faisant ainsi decouvrir sous un eclairage renouvele.

Le programme de cet enregistrement a ete pense pour les sonorites chaleureuses du clavecin et de la flute a bec selon trois axes :
les sonates transcrites pour flute, les sonates ecrites pour flute et la Partita pour flute seule.

Les sonates BWV 1017 et 1019 ont ete ecrites pour violon. La transcription consiste en une modification des tonalites et de quelques octaviations afin que l'ecriture soit adaptee a la tessiture de la flute a bec. Aucune autre modification n'a ete apportee. Cependant, il convient de preciser que la pratique de la transcription etait particulierement courante depuis le Moyen-Age jusqu'a l'epoque de Bach. Jean-Sebastien Bach lui-meme a repris bon nombre de ses oeuvres en modifiant l'instrumentation.

Les sonates BWV 1020 et 1030 appartiennent aux sonates pour flute, quand bien meme la question de l'instrumentation se pose au regard de certains manuscrits.
La sonate BWV 1020, bien que toujours editee sous le nom de J.S. Bach dans certaines editions, est de nos jours plutot attribuee a l'un de ses fils, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Sa difference stylistique d'avec les autres sonates, bien que presente, confere, de par sa place dans ce disque, une ouverture vers le futur.
La sonate BWV 1030 represente l'une des plus belles sonates pour la flute; le premier mouvement Andante est le plus long jamais ecrit par Bach dans les sonates pour flute, les motifs evoluant en reponses et tuilages entre les deux instruments avec une grande densite d'ecriture.

La Partita BWV 1013 pour flute seule represente une enigme pour tout instrumentiste a vent?: presque aucun silence ni articulation dans toute la suite de danses; donner du sens a l'oeuvre devient alors l'exploration sans fin d'un phrase en perpetuel questionnement.

Toutes les sonates de ce disque font partie des sonates pour clavecin oblige (ou concertant); elles different des sonates pour basse continue dans leur conception contrapuntique et harmonique, offrant ainsi une ecriture a trois voix egales, en dialogue fluide et constant entre les deux instruments.

Dans cet enregistrement, l'usage habituel a l'epoque de Jean-Sebastien Bach de la ??re-instrumentation?? ou de l'auto-transcription pour une formation instrumentale differente, octroie a l'instrumentiste moderne une liberte qui permet a la flute a bec de faire vivre, avec les qualites sonores chaleureuses qui lui sont propres, un repertoire d'une richesse incomparable.

Nathalie ROTSTEIN-RAGUIS

Paris, le 10 juillet 2012