The Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo, BWV1034, is probably a product of Bach’s early Leipzig years. Bach’s autograph of the piece is lost but the earliest surviving material dates from circa 1726. Perhaps the first-composed of his flute sonatas, it alludes to the older formal scheme of the Italian sonata ‘da chiesa’. The opening ‘Adagio ma non tanto’ contains an expansive, pleasingly shaped melody in a single unrepeated section. The following ‘Allegro’ derives interest and energy from a progression of arpeggios of a kind favoured by Venetian violinist-composers. The emphasis in this movement is on virtuosity, though never for its own sake. The melody of the lyrical ‘Andante’ is anchored to an almost uninterrupted quaver accompaniment in the bass betraying, once more, strong Italian leanings. The highly motivated concluding ‘Allegro’ is binary and introduced by a single crotchet in the bass. Like the second movement, this one requires technical virtuosity.
from notes by Nicholas Anderson © 2002