Viola da gamba sonata no. 1 in G major

Viola da gamba sonata no. 1 in G major

BWV 1027 performed by Mieneke van der Velden and Emmanuel Frankenberg
at Broedergemeente, Zeist

  • Menu
  • 1. Adagio
  • 2. Allegro ma non tanto
  • 3. Andante
  • 4. Allegro moderato

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Gilt cast iron

An obscure sonata that seeks out musical extremes

Bach wrote the lion’s share of his chamber music in Köthen, where he was Kapellmeister from 1717 to 1723. The court was not especially large and neither was the chapel, but it did comprise exceptionally talented musicians.

Well-known pieces that Bach wrote in Köthen include the six cello suites, for example. These demanding works may have been intended for Christian Ferdinand Abel, one of the cellists at the court of Köthen. Abel’s main instrument, however, was not the cello, but the viola da gamba – at the time still a formidable rival of the cello, and maybe more highly valued as a solo instrument. It is very likely that Bach wrote the three sonatas for cello and concertante harpsichord for him.

The Sonata for viola da gamba and harpsichord – recorded here for All of Bach – also exists in a version for two flutes and continuo (BWV 1039). Researchers suspect that neither version is the original, but that they are rather arrangements of an earlier trio sonata by Bach himself, which has not survived. Although this sonata, BWV 1027, has never become really famous, it is Bach through and through. In the quick movements, we hear the gilt cast-iron polyphony that forms the trademark of the composer. In between these movements, there is a dark cadenza that seeks out the extremes of what was musically possible in the eighteenth century.

Sonata for harpsichord and viola da gamba in G major
viola da gamba, harpsichord
chamber music

With support from

Annenies, Isa, Tessel and Dick van Gameren

Extra videos

The viola da gamba

“In this short documentary, gamba player Mieneke van der Velden shows the special characteristics of the viola da gamba and what sets the instrument apart from other string instruments such as the cello or double bass.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    23 November 2023
  • Recording date
    13 March 2023
  • Location
    Broedergemeente, Zeist
  • Viola da gamba
    Mieneke van der Velden
  • Instrument
    Antoine Despont, 1617
  • Harpsichord
    Emmanuel Frankenberg
  • Instrument
    Bruce Kennedy, 1989 after Michael Mietke
  • Director and camera
    Bas Wielenga
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Pim van der Lee
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Lights
    Ernst-Jan Thieme
  • Lighting assistant
    Jordi Kooij, Joey Marcoux
  • Data handling
    Brechtje van Riel
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer
    Laura Jonker
  • With support from
    Annenies, Isa, Tessel and Dick van Gameren

Help us to complete All of Bach

There are still many recordings to be made before the whole of Bach’s oeuvre is online. And we can’t complete the task without the financial support of our patrons. Please help us to complete the musical heritage of Bach, by supporting us with a donation!