All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Flute Partita in A Minor

BWV 1013 performed by Marten Root
Oude Dorpskerk, Bunnik

"It's technically difficult but that could be just psychological, because there is only one work by Bach for flute solo."

Only for flute

Whereas violinists and cellists have six suites, flautists have to make do with one.

This suite is Bach’s only known work for flute solo. The piece consists of four stylised dances. The Allemande is directly reminiscent of the cello suites and violin partitas, so this piece probably originated in the same period, namely Bach’s years at the court in Köthen. When Bach was still working in Weimar, he met the French flautist Pierre Gabriel Buffardin on a visit to Dresden. His playing undoubtedly inspired Bach, who wrote this suite with him in mind.

At this time, the flute was still very much under development. Flutes could consist of three or four different parts and sometimes had extra extensions, which were interchangeable connecting pieces that varied in length, called corps de rechange. A flute was therefore not just one instrument, but actually a kit of several pieces that made up a variety of lengths, allowing the flautist to play in different keys.

This suite lets the flautist show off all his techniques: rapid fingering changes, big leaps and little time to catch his breath. The piece ranges from the lowest possible note to the glorious high A at the end of the Allemande. It is also has a Sarabande, which has to be played slowly and expressively. After all, according to the most famous player in Germany, Johann Joachim Quantz, not only did a flautist have to “get his lips, tongue and fingers in the right place”, but he also had to “develop his taste”. 


BWV
1013

Title
Partita in A minor

Epithet
Solo pour la Flûte traversière par J.S. Bach

Genre
chamber music (solo work for flute)

year
ca. 1717-1723?

city
Köthen?

Special notes
The manuscript copy is written at the end of a collective manuscript which contains a complete copy of the Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo, BWV 1001–1006. The heading seems to read: Solo pour la Flûte traversière par J.S. Bach. The copyist of the violin works is probably Emanuel Leberecht Gottschalck.

Cast & Crew

Release Date 14 October 2016
Recording Date 28 November 2015
Location Oude Dorpskerk, Bunnik
flute player Marten Root
traverso Fridtjof Aurin after Pierre Naust, ca. 1700
Director Jonas Sacks
Music recording Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
Camera Jonas Sacks, Ype Poortinga
Gaffer Ype Poortinga
Music edit and mix Guido Tichelman
audio post processing interview Chris Everts
Production Imke Deters

Vocal Texts

Original

Translation

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