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Carl Heinrich Graun

Trio sonata, Op. 1 No. 4

Two flutes and basso continuo

edited by Michael Elphinstone
Leaflet Music example (pdf)

Carl Heinrich Graun (1703/41759), like most other galant composers attached to the Berlin court of Frederick the Great, wrote a significant number of trio sonatas, versions of which exist with different scorings: two violins (or flutes) and continuo, violin, flute and continuo, and violin (or flute/viola da gamba) and keyboard. Of particular interest is the beautiful Trio published here, which survives in two different tonalities, E flat major and E major. The E major version, for two flutes and continuo, is preserved in a single source at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. The transposition from the original key of E flat, which the composer himself undertook, places the work in a brighter tonality, albeit one that presents more of a challenge to players of the baroque flute.

That this trio was remarkably popular throughout the late Baroque and Classical periods is apparent from many surviving manuscript copies (of the E flat major version) that date from 1740 to 1800. It would moreover appear that the work was admired by other composers, including Jakob Friedrich Kleinknecht who included it in a set of set of six trio sonatas, purportedly from his own pen, which he published in Paris, c.1750.

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Trio sonata, Op. 1, No. 4
hh592.fsp  ISMN 979-0-708213-07-9  ISBN 978-1-914137-57-0
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