Bach for Two

An intimate recital featuring founding director Daniel Lee and artistic director Jeffrey Grossman.

Download Concert Program (7 MB)

Bach’s chamber music is like a Fabergé egg, finely wrought in miniature, with an almost infinite amount of detail. While Bach may be most famous for his colorful Brandenburg concerti and his large settings of the Passion story, it is fascinating to revisit the sonatas. Jeffrey and Daniel present this intimate concert for a limited audience, featuring two of the sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord, one of the sonatas for violin and continuo, and solo harpsichord works by composers from Bach’s own library, Charles (François) Dieupart and Jean-Henri D’Anglebert.

The so-called “obbligato sonatas” are notable because they lifted the harpsichord to become an equal partner to the violin. The two hands of the harpsichord essentially fill the roll of two musicians, allowing Bach to fill three independent musical lines. From its opening measures, the E major sonata is as grand as a cathedral, with tolling bass notes and thick writing, and a soaring, majestic violin line. The G major, on the other hand, is playful. Bach revised the G major sonata several times, and in its final versions, it has five movements, including a central movement for the harpsichord alone. Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, considered these sonatas “among the best works of my dear departed father. They still sound excellent and give me much joy, although they date back more than fifty years. They contain some Adagii that could not be written in a more singable manner today.”

There is nothing obviously ground-breaking about music for violin and continuo—every composer in the baroque composed sonatas for solo instrument and continuo—but Bach’s “continuo sonatas” are nevertheless special works. The E minor sonata opens with a long, improvisatory fantasia over a pedal tone, an unusual choice for counterpoint-crazy Bach! He makes up for the seemingly-simple opening with three movements based on dances, filled with some of the his most chromatic writing.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Sonata no. 3 in E major for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1016

Charles (François) Dieupart (?after 1667–c. 1740)
Suite no. 3 in B minor for harpsichord (1701)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Sonata in E minor for violin and continuo, BWV 1023

Jean-Henri D'Anglebert (1629–91)
Suite in G major for harpsichord (1689)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Sonata no. 6 in G major for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1019


Jeffrey Grossman


Daniel S. Lee


Detailed COVID-19 Protocols for February 12, 2022

All our staff and musicians are fully vaccinated. As required by the Key to NYC program, we require proof of vaccination to attend our concerts in person. Your proof can be a photo or copy of your CDC vaccination card, the New York State Excelsior Pass or Excelsior Pass Plus, or any similar official vaccination record. Please bring a photo ID that matches the name on your vaccination record.

We ask that audience members please wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth while inside the building. If you do not have a mask, we can provide one. For this performance, both performers (all fully vaccinated, boosted, and recently tested) will keep their masks on while performing. We will also be allowing ample distance between the performers and the first row of listeners.

By purchasing a ticket and attending a concert, you acknowledge that despite all reasonable precautions, there are risks in attending live musical events and you agree to accept those risks yourself. You release the Sebastians (legally, Sebastian Chamber Players, Inc.) from any claims based on your attendance of one of our concerts. Your in-person concert ticket also grants you access to the virtual concert experience—available shortly after the performance. If you are not feeling well, have been recently exposed to COVID-19, or have recently tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and rest. If you have any questions or need assistance, we are always reachable at

Processing, please wait...