Nadia Labrie returns with her second album in the Flute Passion series. This second recording features four of Johann Sebastian Bach’s key works for flute, which she performs with Luc Beauséjour on piano and Camille Paquette-Roy on cello.

The Flute Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1035

The program’s first two sonatas have four movements that alternate slow-fast-slow-fast according to the sonata da chiesa (church sonata) model. The Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1035, was written for transverse fl ute and continuo, meaning that the fl ute is accompanied by a group of instruments – piano and cello in this instance – that improvise the accompaniment from a bass line notated with figures (“figured bass”). Written around 1724, the work’s lyrical first movement features a sombre eloquence, contrasting with the joyous opening theme of the fugal “Allegro” that follows. The third movement, “Andante,” is meditative and pastoral, the fl ute’s long melodic lines floating over a serene eighth- note accompaniment. Flute and continuo have a completely different relationship in the finale, interacting in a set of imitations initiated in the first theme and continuing throughout, particularly noticeable in the exchange of an insistent repeated-note motif.

The Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039, for two flutes and harpsichord

The Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039, for two flutes and harpsichord, was written some 12 years later. In the version here, the pianist plays one of the two fl ute parts in the right hand and delegates the bass line entirely to the cellist. The first movement opens rather serenely, though coloured with expressive suspensions that herald a second theme whose bolder harmonies lend a more anguished character. The following “Allegro ma non presto” is a fugal movement that is at once noble and cheerful. The pedal tones of the third movement, in E minor, create a pulsating effect that seems to suspend time, in contrast with the rhythmic energy of the concluding “Presto.”

The Flute Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1030

Completed around 1736, the Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1030, is often considered the masterpiece of Bach’s compositions for fl ute. Unlike the accompaniment for BWV 1034 and BWV 1039, the accompaniment for this sonata is written out, making the harpsichord – or piano in this case – a true partner for the flute. This concertante writing is especially prominent in the first movement, a full “Andante” in which piano and fl ute engage in a tight contrapuntal dialogue. The “Largo e dolce” is structured more as a fl ute melody accompanied, and occasionally commented on, by the piano. The last movement has two parts – a short fugue marked “Presto” that flows into a virtuoso gigue.

The Partita for solo flute in A Minor, BWV 1013

Bach’s only work for solo fl ute, the Partita in A Minor, BWV 1013, is a suite of four movements. With its preponderance of arpeggiated motifs, the opening “Allemande” is much like a prelude. The lively “Corrente” that follows features scalar motifs, broken by wide eighth-note leaps in the first theme; the movement concludes with a perpetuum mobile. The sober and introspective third movement, “Sarabande,” contrasts with the joyful “Bourée anglaise” that closes the work.

Traduction: Peter Christensen
© Florence Brassard


“Nadia belongs to the rare group of performers for whom every note counts in a phrase. She has a way of turning every single note to catch the light, nurturing it, bringing each to life no matter how long it lasts.”

The Halifax Herald Limited


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