Scheibe’s three sonatas for flute (or violin) and obbligato harpsichord were published in the late 1750s but were probably composed much earlier – their copious and elaborate imitative writing is out of character with his later music. Though rooted in the tradition of similar works by J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, and composers at Frederick the Great’s court in Berlin, Scheibe’s sonatas are more substantial, each having four movements, in the traditional slow–fast–slow–fast scheme. Essentially they are trio sonatas, the right hand part of the harpsichord acting as the second treble voice, but several movements feature idiomatic keyboard writing. Interestingly, Scheibe disapproved of the excessive embellishments that Bach actually wrote into his melody lines, yet not only do his own sonatas call for a significant amount of ornamentation, particularly in the harpsichord part, but the symbols themselves are notated in the score: in addition to turns and mordents, Scheibe uses no less than three different trill signs.
“The three Sonatas op. 1 by Johann Adolph Scheibe (1708-76) are a fine addition to the flute and obbligato keyboard repertoire. Flautists should be grateful to Edition HH for bringing to light such beautiful and interesting music, and to Michael Elphinstone for presenting us with such a thoughtful and scholarly edition. As a flautist involved in historically informed performance and the ongoing discovery of new repertoire, I praise the excellent work of Edition HH and Michael Elphinstone in bringing Scheibe’s 3 Sonate per il cembalo obbligato e flauto traverso ô violino concertato Op. 1 back to life.”
(Read the review in The Consort)