At some time in the vicinity of 1727 to 1730, Johann
Sebastian Bach finished compiling a set of six organ
sonatas that, records show, he intended as practice
pieces for his oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. It
seems that the purpose was fulfilled; W.F. Bach got a
prestigious appointment as organist of the
Sophienkirche of Dresden, in 1733, and became widely
known for his outstanding playing.
The pieces in the set are sometimes called trio sonatas
because in texture they resemble works of that period
made up of three independent musical lines; two in the
treble function more or less as a duet and a third is
in the pedal register of the organ.
Bach tended to follow the form of the Italian concerto,
particularly examples of it by Vivaldi, in shaping
these six sonatas. Whether or not it is true that Bach
wrote them as teaching pieces for his son, the works
are in fact excellent both as concert works and as
practice pieces. They promote independence of the hands
from each other and from the feet and are on the
curriculum for every student organist. Often the
texture evokes a flute and a violin, frequent choices
for the top two instruments in trio sonatas of the
time, plus a mellow bass line.
It is suspected by musical scholars that some of the
movements of some of these six sonatas may have been
originated considerably earlier, but there seems to be
agreement that the sixth and final sonata was written
specifically for this set.
Although originally created for organ, I adapted this
work for woodwind trio (Flute, Oboe and Bassoon). The
opening Vivace movement of this sonata number six (6),
has a rapid unison figure for the melody lines that is
quite reminiscent of Vivaldi.