The third and last of the Sonatas (BWV1005) is in the key of C major and begins with an elegiacally expressive Adagio whose writing embraces one-part to four-part texture. It leads to an immense, multiple-layered Fuga, 354 bars in length, whose single subject derives from the Pentecostal antiphon ‘Veni Sancte Spiritus’, from which the chorale melody ‘Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott’ also derives. The scale of the movement, its contrapuntal density, the sustained ingenuity of the writing and its intimidating technical requirements, make it a daunting challenge to the performer. As such it may be regarded as a companion piece to the D minor Ciaccona. The lyrical and serene melody of the third movement Largo, in F major, provides both expressive contrast and necessary relief from the imposing, concentrated and technically challenging content of the Fuga which preceded it. The C major Sonata concludes with a spirited and brilliantly coloured Allegro assai in which Bach, once more, leads the performer and his instrument towards the limits of possibility.
from notes by Nicholas Anderson © 2009