Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750): Complete Flute Sonatas, Vol. 1: BWV 1034, 1035, 1032, 1030. Performed by Janet See, baroque transverse flute, Davitt Moroney, harpsichord, and Mary Springfels, viola da gamba.
Recorded in March, 1990, by Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California.
Harmonia Mundi. Originally released on HMU 907024, now re-released as part of the budget-priced Classical Express series as HMCX 3957024. Total time: 56’24”.
Prior to purchasing this disc, I had listened to the same program as performed by Jed Wentz and Christiane Wuyts on Vanguard Classics, but the over-fast tempi and none-too-brilliant sound had deterred me from a closer acquaintance with this music. Janet See and Davitt Moroney, however, have changed all that: Their performance (with the able assistance of Mary Springfels on BWV 1034 and 1035) is absolutely first-class, fully meriting the rave review in the “Capital Times” quoted on the cover: “A wickedly charming set of flute sonatas … See’s wooden transverse flut has a deeper, richer and softer sound than the modern metal flute, but it’s really her bold phrasing and propulsive tempos which make this set such a winner.” Davitt Moroney, thorough musicologist that he is, provides ample notes covering the historical background, including the thorny questions of authenticity associated with most of Bach’s works for flute. The recorded sound is absolutely bewitching, so that listening in front of loudspeakers rather than over headphones is a must. All three musicians play as Bach surely intended: with grace and nobility, but also with fervour and a grand sense of the whole being more than its parts. Congratulations all round on this performance, also to the folk at Harmonia Mundi for making this available at an extremely affordable price!