Trio Sonata in G major

Trio Sonata in G major

BWV 1039 performed by Marten Root, Doretthe Janssens,
Mieneke van der Velden and Mike Fentross
Philharmonie, Haarlem

  • Menu
  • 1. Adagio
  • 2. Allegro ma non presto
  • 3. Adagio e piano
  • 4. Presto

Behind the music


Popular notes

A Bach piece that was sought-after in its day can exist in many different versions

Nowadays, it is almost a cliché that Bach was not very famous in his day and that his music was not very well known. Yet there are also plenty of indications that some of his music did circulate and was played by fellow musicians. One example of this was the many copies of Bach’s organ music that were already doing the rounds by the mid-eighteenth century. But one of the nicest and most interesting signs of the popularity of some of Bach’s music in his own day is his own arrangements of that music for various instruments.

Sometimes, these arrangements can be traced back to Bach himself. But actually, the arrangements made by other people are just as interesting. They show that musicians from Bach’s time thought his music was worth playing on other instruments as well.

This trio sonata for two flutes and basso continuo, BWV 1039, also exists in a version for viola da gamba and harpsichord. Researchers suspect, however, that neither version is the original. It may originally have been a trio sonata for two violins and basso continuo, although it is far from certain. The final movement of the sonata also exists in a version for organ (BWV 1027a), dating from the 1730’s.

The reason for all these different versions is clear: like the other trio sonatas, this is a balanced work full of nice melodic and harmonic inventions. So who wouldn’t want to play it? Although the other trio sonatas also exist in versions for different instruments, this is the only one for two flutes. In Bach’s day, the transverse flute, or traverso, was a popular instrument with the upper middle classes and the nobility, and this sonata gave (and still gives) the opportunity of enjoying Bach’s music to two flautists, rather than just one. No wonder that Marten Root smiles so happily after the final note.

Sonata in G major
viola da gamba, lute, traverso
chamber music
not before 1726
Special notes
Like the Sonata for gamba, BWV 1027, this sonata is probably an arrangement by Bach of an earlier trio sonata that has not survived.

Extra videos

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    23 June 2022
  • Recording date
    4 June 2021
  • Location
    Philharmonie, Haarlem
  • Traverso
    Marten Root, Doretthe Janssens
  • Viola da gamba
    Mieneke van der Velden
  • Theorbo
    Mike Fentross
  • Director, camera
    Robin van Erven Dorens
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Onno van der Wal
  • Lights
    Ernst-Jan Thieme
  • Best boy
    Jordi Kooij
  • Data handling
    Stefan Ebels
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
  • Supported by
    an anonymous donor, accompanied by the following statement: "S.D.G." (Soli Deo Gloria)

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