Violin Sonata no. 1 in B minor

Violin Sonata no. 1 in B minor

BWV 1014 performed by Bojan Cicic and Steven Devine
at Broedergemeente, Zeist

  • Menu
  • 1. Adagio
  • 2. Allegro
  • 3. Andante
  • 4. Allegro

Behind the music


Bach at his most expressive

“I was stark staring mad to hear Sebastian’s sonatas”

This sonata for violin and harpsichord is the first in a set of six that Bach probably wrote during his years in Köthen. The slow opening section (Adagio) immediately shows Bach’s ambitions for the whole set. He reveals himself at his most expressive, and there is also room for virtuosity and complexity. For instance, after the melancholic introduction by the harpsichord, the violin enters in a lament with a long motionless note and proceeds to descend in a resigned garland of notes. A little later, the violin even becomes two-part, creating a five-part interaction between the two instruments.

It is precisely this combination of expressiveness, virtuosity and compositional mastery that explains why these sonatas have not fallen into oblivion. It is hard to ignore their musical quality. So it is no wonder that Bach kept the pieces in the repertoire in Leipzig. Later on, the sonatas were praised by Carl Philip Emmanuel, and that was just the beginning. The English music historian Charles Burney was “stark staring mad to hear Sebastian’s sonatas” at the start of the nineteenth century, when they were still being played in Germany and France as well.

This first sonata becomes considerably lighter in tone after the Adagio, with a dancy Allegro followed by a pleasant Andante, which is the only movement in a major key. In the closing section, Bach returns to B minor. Here, the violin begins with a note that is repeated five times, which sounds like a reference to the (same) note that started the Adagio – now not as a protracted lament, but chopped up and transformed into the springboard for an animated ending.

Sonata for harpsichord and violin no. 1 in B minor
harpsichord, violin
chamber music
Six sonatas (violin and harpsichord)

Extra videos

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    29 September 2022
  • Recording date
    6 December 2021
  • Location
    Broedergemeente, Zeist
  • Violin
    Bojan Čičić
  • Harpsichord
    Steven Devine
  • Instrument
    Jan Kalsbeek after Michael Mietke
  • Director and camera
    Bas Wielenga
  • Camera
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Lights
    Ernst-Jan Thieme
  • Lighting assistant
    Patrick Galvin
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Pim van der Lee
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer
    Stefan Ebels, Marco Meijdam

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