Twelve Little Pieces (WQ 81) by C.P.E. Bach (1741-1788)
Arranged by Kurt Walther for two Flutes (or two Violins) with Basso continuo (or piano, or harpsichord, with cello or bassoon)
Includes score and parts
“In 1758 the Berlin publisher George Ludewig Winter issued “Zwolf kleine Stucke mit zwey und drey Stimmen fur die Flote oder Violin und das Clavier” by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), who at the time was royal harpsichordist to Frederick the Great in Potsdam and Berlin. This volume of musical miniuatures (no. 81 in Alfred Wotquenne's thematic catalogue) must have encountered lively interest at the time, since a second edition was required a year later.
The present edition derives from this contemporary print, a copy of which was kindly provided by the director of the Bibliotheque du Conservatoire in Bruseels. It contains six trios and six duets. Of the trios, three appear with traditional figured bass (nos. 3,5,6), while the other three have a written-out piano part and this can be regarded as “Handstucke,” as instructive instrumental pieces were called at the time (no. 1, 8, 11). In accordance with the composer's wishes, a tripartite A-B-A form is provided at the beginning and the end of the series (nos. 1-2-1 and 11-12-11).
If, in addition to the piano (or harpsichord), flutes and violins are available, a wide variety of settings become possible. The publisher Winter offers the purchaser a number of suggestions in this regard: “The trios may be doubled with two flutes and violins simultaneously, nor would it be ill-advised to play the following duets with two flutes alone. As regards the trios, each repeated section can be played first with flutes and then with violins, and finally the entire piece once more with both instruments simultaneously. If the keyboard is not loud enough, another instrument (e.g. cello or bassoon) may take the bass. He who wishes to practice his left hand on the keyboard can play all six duets (nos. 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12) on two manuals.”
The words accompanying the orginal 1758 edition close with a friendly appeal to players and listeners: “Lastly, it is the publisher's desire and intention that every type of musical amateur and connoisseur take part in the pleasure that this collection can afford, in whatever manner his circumstances allow.”
-Preface by Kurt Walther