The Sonata in G minor H47 (Wq65/17) from 1746 remained unpublished in Bach’s lifetime. The sonata begins with an unbarred fantasia that soon gives way to a strictly metred section featuring running semiquaver triplets in unison in the two hands. The strict metre, however, soon devolves into another unbarred section, after which a startling contrast appears: a galant motif in B flat major. Bach allows none of these motifs to reach a satisfying conclusion, however. Brief reappearances of the galant theme (often accompanied by echo effects) are interrupted by the unison triplets, and the rhythm repeatedly disintegrates into recollections of the fantasia. This extraordinary piece takes the listener on a wild journey into Bach’s ‘fantastical’ world, ending with a half cadence that ushers in a complete change of scenery: the gentle second-movement sarabande in G major. If this slow dance in triple metre, with its characteristic accent on the second beat, reminded Bach’s listeners in some ways of the early eighteenth-century suite, its harmonic excursions, dynamic contrasts, and moments of rhetorical interjection certainly did not. In short, the movement is a perfect example of Bach’s attempts to mould past influences into a new innovative language. The sonata ends with an equally extraordinary Allegro built around a descending chromatic motif whose pitches appear in an almost spasmodic off-kilter rhythm along with interjected higher notes. Several times Bach halts the momentum with rests followed by his typical parenthetical insertions, or with reminiscences of the first movement’s fantasia. The entire sonata presents a stunning example of Bach’s wild, highly eccentric language tempered by his heritage of rationality.
from notes by Leta Miller © 2010