J.S. Bach – Harpsichord or (Organ) Concerto in d minor, BWV 1059 / Ton Koopman, organ

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685~1750)
Konzert für Clavier, Streicher und Basso Continuo d-moll, BWV 1059
(incomplete work, revision by Ton Koopman version)
I. Sinfonia (from cantata, BWV 35: Sinfonia) – 00:00
II. Aria (from cantata, BWV 35: “Gott hat alles wohlgemacht”) – 05:18
III. Sinfonia: presto (from cantata, BWV 35: Second Sinfonia) – 08:59
Ton Koopman (orgel)
Ku Ebbinge (oboe da caccia)
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Ton Koopman (conductor)
*Clavier(Keyboard): harpsichord, clavichord, claviorganum, or organ etc.* 
 Concerto in d minor, BWV 1059 (incomplete) – 

Fragment consisting of 9 bars(only the first 9 bars survive in Bach’s own hand). Taken from the opening Sinfonia of the Cantata, BWV 35 “Geist und Seele wird verwirret” (1726) In the cantata, Bach uses an obbligato organ not only in the two sinfonias (which evidently form the first and last movements of a lost instrumental concerto, possibly for Oboe) but also in the aria No. 1, whose siciliano character likewise points to its original function as a concerto movement. Bach intended to write this out as a harpsichord concerto but abandoned the endeavor after only 9 bars.– Bach’s Harpsichord Concertos –

The harpsichord concertos, BWV 1052-1065, are concertos for harpsichord, strings and continuo by Johann Sebastian Bach. There are seven complete concertos for a single harpsichord, (BWV 1052-1058), three concertos for 2 harpsichords (BWV 1060-1062), two concertos for 3 harpsichords (BWV 1063-1064), and one concerto for 4 harpsichords, (BWV 1065). Two other concertos include solo harpsichord parts: the concerto BWV 1044, which has solo parts for harpsichord, violin and flute, and Brandenburg concerto no.5, BWV 1050, with the same scoring. In addition there is a single 9 bar concerto fragment for a single harpsichord (BWV 1059) which adds an oboe to the strings and continuo.

All of Bach’s harpsichord concertos (with the exception of the Brandenburg concerto) are thought to be arrangements made from earlier concertos for melodic instruments probably written in Köthen. In many cases, only the harpsichord version has survived.

From 1729 to 1741, Bach was director of the Collegium musicum in Leipzig, a student musical society, founded by Georg Philipp Telemann in 1703 and run before Bach by Balthasar Schott. The Collegium musicum often gave performances at Zimmermann’s coffee-house. It was for these occasions that Bach produced his harpsichord concertos, among the first concertos for keyboard instrument ever written. It is thought that the multiple harpsichord concertos were heard earlier than those for one harpsichord, perhaps because his sons CPE Bach and WF Bach (both excellent harpsichord players) were living at home until 1733 and 1734, respectively. It is likely that Johann Ludwig Krebs, who studied with Bach until 1735, also played harpsichord in the Collegium musicum.

The concertos for one harpsichord, BWV 1052-1059, survive in an autograph score (now in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Mus. ms. Bach P 234) which is not a fair copy but a draft, or working score, and has been dated to about 1738. Bach may of course have played the works much earlier, using the parts from an original melody-instrument concerto and extemporising a suitable harpsichord version while playing.

The works BWV 1052-1057 were intended as a set of six, shown in the manuscript in Bach’s traditional manner beginning with ‘J.J.’ (Jesu Juva) and ending with ‘Finis. S. D. Gl.’ (Soli Deo Gloria). Aside from the Brandenburg concertos, it is the only such collection of concertos in Bach’s oeuvre. The concerto BWV 1058 and fragment BWV 1059 are contained at the end of the score, and are an earlier attempt at a set of (headed J.J.) which was abandoned for one reason or another.

Bach’s harpsichord concertos were, until recently, often underestimated by scholars, who did not have the convenience of hearing the benefits that historically informed performance has brought to works such as these; Albert Schweitzer wrote ‘The transcriptions have often been prepared with almost unbelievable cursoriness and carelessness. Either time was pressing or he was bored by the matter.’ Recent research has demonstrated quite the reverse to be true; he transferred solo parts to the harpsichord with typical skill and variety. Bach’s interest in the harpsichord concerto form can be inferred from the fact that he arranged every suitable melody-instrument concerto as a harpsichord concerto, and while the harpsichord versions have been preserved the same is not true of the melody-instrument versions.


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