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          Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord occupied a special place among works by J.S. Bach (1685-1750).  During his employment by Prince Leopold of Cöthen, Bach was fortunate to have access to a new harpsichord.  He was pleased to learn that its capabilities exceeded those of instruments he had previously played.  Around 1719 Bach wrote numerous solo compositions for the instrument, the quality of which encouraged Bach to give a more prominent role to harpsichord, which ordinarily had been only used for harmonic
accompaniment of other instruments and voice.
     Bach's perfectionist approach made him revise the sonatas many times. According to
the composer's son Bach was working on them "just before he died", embracing an interval
of about 30 years since the work on the first sonatas started.
     We can simultaneously experience in these compositions a development of Baroque
standards along with anticipation of the following epochs of classicism and romanticism.
In this regard an equal development of violin and harpsichord parts refers us to classical
standards inherited from polyphonic Baroque style.  The difference with Baroque is, that
in the classical period there was more frequent exploitation of the textural idea of melody
and harmonic accompaniment.  A weaving of melody and accompaniment was also
common for bel canto - a style of Italian opera seria, largely spread through Europe at
that time.
     The violin, formerly the solo instrument in Bach's sonatas, often accompanies the
harpsichord or engages in a dialogue frequently shifting the role of the solo instrument inside the duo.  The idea of frequent exchanges of roles between instruments later became a common feature of development sections in classical sonatas.
     The endless divine melodies in slow movements, chromaticism and courageous
modulations, unusual for Baroque expressionism, anticipate aesthetics of the romantic
period.  The numerology of 444445 brings a great deal of stability, logic and completion
to the circle.
     The musical language does not contain virtuoso effects to impress you by vanity of fast
fingers and sparkling passages.  Instead you may feel a breath of eternity.  A spiritual world
unfolds behind a natural flow of images.  You may finally understand, that music is not what
you can hear.  Music is what you can feel.

     Igor Oistrakh has performed with the world's greatest orchestras under Klemperer, Reiner, von Karajan, Ormandy, Giulini, Solti, Maazel, Ozawa, Rozhdestvensky, and his
father, David Oistrakh.
     He was Fellow of the Royal College of Music, "People's Artist of the USSR", President
of the Russian section of the European String Teachers Association, Honorary Member of the Ysaye Foundation, President of the Cesar Franck Foundation in Belgium and a jury member of the foundation's most prestigious violin competitions, as well as Professor at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels.
     His wife, Natalia Zertsalova, is his duo pianist; and together they were awarded Honorary
Membership in the Beethoven Society in Bonn for their recording of the complete Beethoven
Sonatas.  They were also awarded the "Weiner Flotenuhr" by the Vienna Mozart Academy
for their recording of the complete Mozart violin sonatas.

©2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn

J.S. Bach
Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord
BWV 1014 -1019

Disc I

Sonata No. 1 in B minor     Sonata No. 2 in A major        Sonata No. 3 in E major

1. Adagio            4:48        5. Dolce                  4:00        9.  Adagio                       5:26
2. Allegro            3:01        6. Allegro assai        3:13       10. Allegro                       2:57
3. Andante          3:50        7. Andante un poco 3:45        11. Adagio ma non tanto  5:45
4. Allegro            3:37        8. Presto                 4:49        12. Allegro                       3:52

Total Time of Disc I - 49:15

Disc II

Sonata No. 4 in C minor      Sonata No. 5 in F minor       Sonata No. 6 in G minor

1. Siciliano, Largo   5:15      5. Largo               8:10         9.  Vivace                3:35
2. Allegro                4:28     6. Allegro             3:14         10. Largo                 2:16
3. Adagio                4:11     7. Adagio             3:54         11. Allegro               2:42
4. Allegro                3:19     8. Vivace              2:54        12. Adagio               4:19
                                                                                      13. Allegro               3:37

Total Time of Disc II - 52:08

Total Time of Both Discs - 1:41:23

cover painting "Samson-Colen triptych" by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen

Recorded in 1987

Remastered by Nikita Razlukin

Igor Oistrakh, violin
Natalia Zertsalova, harpsichord

Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn