Violin sonata in F major

Violin sonata in F major

BWV 1022 performed by Shunske Sato and Diego Ares
at Studio 150 - Bethlehemchurch, Amsterdam

  • Menu
  • 1. [...]
  • 2. Allegro e presto
  • 3. Adagio
  • 4. Presto

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Exercise or mastery?

An arrangement with a frustratingly vague provenance

Although we’re very grateful that so many of Bach’s works have stood the test of time, we still give a deep sigh once in a while. Couldn’t all those hands over the centuries have taken a little more care of the material? Or maybe made more meticulous notes about this and that? Then at least we might have had a better idea of where to place this violin sonata.

We’ll start by telling what we do know. Around 1732, Johann Sebastian Bach himself wrote the Violin Sonata in G major, BWV 1021, a work that is linked to the brilliant violinist Pisendel, from Dresden. The bass part of this sonata turns up, practically intact, in a trio sonata for flute, violin and continuo, BWV 1038, but with a completely new melody. Despite its impressive catalogue number, some believe that this work is not by Bach (but maybe by one of his sons or another pupil?). Reusing such a ‘bass structure’ was by no means unusual, as it saved time or was useful as a composition exercise in lessons.

And so, almost drowning in a sea of uncertainty, we come to this Sonata in F major, BWV 1022, in a manuscript dating from around 1800. It is an almost literal reduction (by whom – Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach?) of the Trio Sonata, once again with the original bass – now not ‘figured’ or in code indicating the harmony, but written out in full – and with the violin part intact. The flute part has moved to the right hand of the harpsichord and gained a profusion of ornaments. There is even a bit of new music, in galant style with the harpsichord in the main role, as the Vivace has been expanded by several bars into a section with repetition. The sonata is a tone lower than the original, as the highest note of the flute was not yet on the keyboard of the harpsichord.

It is interesting to note that just as in BWV 1038, the violin plays in scordatura, with the strings tuned differently to usual. Once again, this is not strictly necessary, as the lowest note in the newly composed bars of the Vivace would also have been playable in normal tuning. Might the author have had a weakness for the slightly softer sound of the retuned violin? Until more sources are discovered, we can only let the music speak for itself.

Sonata for harpsichord and violin in F major
harpsichord, violin
chamber music
after 1734
Special notes
It is not certain whether Bach wrote this piece. The sonata has the same bass line as BWV 1021 and BWV 1038.

In honor of

the 80th birthday of Sibylle Pretzer

Extra videos

Shunske Sato and Pieter Affourtit

“What are the differences between the modern and Baroque violin and bow?”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    19 August 2021
  • Recording date
    4 November 2020
  • Location
    Studio 150 - former Bethlehemchurch, Amsterdam
  • Violin
    Shunske Sato
  • Harpsichord
    Diego Ares
  • Instrument
    Joel Katzman, 1991 after Ruckers, 1638
  • Director, camera and lights
    Gijs Besseling
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Joeri Saal
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera, lights
    Danny Noordanus
  • Data handling
    Stefan Ebels
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
  • In honor of
    the 80th birthday of Sibylle Pretzer

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