Adagio in G major

Adagio in G major

BWV 968 performed by Ketil Haugsand
at home in Cologne, Germany

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Favourite dessert

What is suggested in the violin version can be made explicit by the harpsichord.

This Adagio in G major is an arrangement of the first movement of Bach’s Violin sonata no. 3. It has survived in a copy by Bach’s son-in-law Johann Christoph Altnickol. It is unfortunate that he (or Bach) did not get further than the first movement of the sonata, as the result certainly gives you a taste for more. Incidentally, Gustav Leonhardt has transcribed the other movements of the violin sonata for harpsichord.*
Despite the spartan instrumentation (just one solo instrument), Bach’s sonatas for violin solo and cello solo are incredibly rich in polyphony and harmony. But what is suggested by the violin and cello can, of course, be made very explicit by the harpsichord. And that is immediately clear from the intensely rich timbre of the opening of this adagio.
It is characteristic of Bach’s mastery that he can take a single musical idea and write two totally different and fully idiomatic (cut out for the instrument) pieces.

This piece is the absolute favourite of the Norwegian harpsichordist Ketil Haugsand. So it is what he wanted to record for All of Bach when we visited him in Cologne. He often plays it as an encore for a concert, and calls it his ‘favourite dessert’.

*The transcriptions by Leonhardt are available in an edition by Bach Society harpsichordist Siebe Henstra, published by Bärenreiter.

Adagio in G major
harpsichord works
Special notes
An arrangement of the opening movement of the Sonata for violin solo, BWV 1005.

Extra videos

Ketil Haugsand

“Haugsand about the G-sharp note on the clavier.”

Vocal texs




  • Release date
    23 August 2019
  • Recording date
    28 February 2017
  • Location
    Cologne, Germany
  • Harpsichordist
    Ketil Haugsand
  • Harpsichord
    Martin Skowroneck, Bremen, 1985
  • Director and interview
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera and edit performance
    Gijs Besseling
  • Edit interview
    Ane C. Ose
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
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