Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The most perfect instrumental miniature that you have never even heard of

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It is a Sonatina from JS Bach's Cantata 106

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5fRjrTtb0M

For me this is sublime: perfection in a short (two and a half minutes), small group, instrumental piece.

I love it for its use of my (secret) favourite instrument - the treble recorder: indeed a pair of them.

What makes this unique in my experience is two features: the loveliness of the melody; and the effect which Bach appears to have invented just for this - of  using one recorder to hold a note while the other oscillates between that same note and others below or above it.

The above YouTube recording is inferior to the one I first heard - which was a 1970s LP featuring David Munrow, with the Early Music Consort of London - I recorded it 'live' onto a cassette tape which I long treasured....