Tune of the Day: Arioso
The term arioso, which in Italian literally means ‛airy’, designates a style of solo opera singing between recitative and aria. Arguably the famous arioso ever composed, today's piece serves as the opening sinfonia of cantata BWV 156 by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Bach composed this work at a time when family tragedies were prevalent in his life, and this is evident from the title of the text, which translates as “I stand with a foot in the grave“.
The opening sinfonia in F major, for oboe and strings, originated in a concerto movement, now lost, which Bach subsequently recast as the slow movement of his harpsichord concerto in F minor, BWV 1056. In transcriptions for flute it is often transposed to higher keys like G major or A major, but following our usual policy we preferred to leave it in its original key.