Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was better known as a virtuoso organist than as a composer in his day. Bach’s use of counterpoint was absolutely brilliant and innovative, and the immense complexities of his compositional style, which often included religious and numerological symbols that seem to fit perfectly together in a profound puzzle of special codes, still amaze musicians today.
Bachs music for the gamba are the maginificent three sonatas for the instrument and harpsichord, the No. 3 of which ranks among the composers most excellent work. The range of the gamba can mostly be encompassed by the modern viola. Unlike the No. 1 and 2, No. 3 has been reduced to the central Adagio of the three-movement (fast—slow—fast), it starts with the gloriously, lively Vivace. For the first time in these three sosntas, the viola is treated as a solo instrument. The concluding Allegro returns to the contrapuntal Allegro.