I count myself lucky that Bach wrote so many marvelous works for flute: his Partita in A minor for solo flute, the six Sonatas for flute and keyboard, two Trio Sonatas, numerous cantata movements which feature flute, plus the Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor for flute, strings and continuo. Bach also gave us flutists prominent parts in three of the six Brandenburg Concertos and he adapted some of his previous writings into a “Triple Concerto” for flute, violin and harpsichord.
Even with all of these Bach gems available to me, I am constantly stealing other of his works and trying them out for myself. For instance, I enjoy working on the Aria from the Goldberg Variations and other keyboard lines such as the treble voice from his two-part Invention No, 8 in F major, and the Bourrée I and II from the English Suite No. 2 in A minor.
These works are beautiful, challenging and fun to work on. I’m sure Bach would approve of the thievery that runs rampant amongst all of us devotees. After all, he was in the habit of stealing from himself regularly. Bach was a master at repurposing his own content in fresh, new ways.
A review in The New York Times caught my eye last summer. Rachel Podger, the foremost Baroque violinist, chose to open her recital at the Baryshnikov Arts Center with the Partita in A minor for solo flute, transposed into the key of G minor. (I wish I'd been there.) When it comes to Bach, Ms. Podger told the audience, “You can’t get enough.” I couldn't agree more.