Quantz: Trio Sonata in C Minor Program Notes

Much like Jacques-Martin Hotteterre, Johann Tromlitz, and Theobald Böhm, Johann Quantz (1697-1773) not only composed prolifically for the flute but also made a living as a professional flutist and instrument maker. This multi-faceted intimacy with the flute is readily apparent in his treatise On Playing the Flute, one of the first major pedagogical methods for the instrument. His contributions to the flute repertoire include unaccompanied solos, hundreds of sonatas and concerti, and trio sonatas.

Beginning in the 17th century, the trio sonata became one of the most common settings for chamber music. Though the name would imply three required instrumentalists, the trio sonata rather referred to three layers of voices: two treble melodic instruments and continuo, often performed by harpsichord and a sustaining bass instrument such as cello or bassoon. Quantz’s Trio Sonata in C Minor, QV 2: Anh, 5 for flute, oboe, and continuo follows the four-movement Italian sonata da chiesa form (slow-fast-slow-fast) as popularized by Arcangelo Corelli. Characteristic features from this style that are also present in this particular trio sonata include a majestic first movement, an imitative second movement, a melodic third movement that resembles an operatic duet, and a dance-like fourth movement.

I don’t usually share my own recordings with these posts, but I recently performed this work on my DMA flute recital. I am particularly happy with the third movement– we wrote all of our own ornaments, and I think Ben’s decision to use the lute stop on the harpsichord creates a great timbral contrast to the other three movements.

Evan Klein (oboe), Chris Jones (cello), and Benjamin Cornelius-Bates (harpsichord)

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