SEON - RCA Red Seal
1 LP - RL 30816 - (p) 1982
1 CD - SBK 63188 - (c) 1997


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052
22' 51"

- Allegro 8' 00"

- Adagio 6' 15"

- Allegro 8' 36"
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Concerto in D Minor, Wq. 23
24' 06"

- Allegro
8' 08"

- Poco andante 8' 45"

- Allegro assai 7' 13"

Marie Leonhardt, Violin (Matthieu Besseling, 198 after Guarnieri del Gesù, Cremona, 1742)
Lucy van Dael, Violin (Gennario Gagliano, Napoli, 1732)
Alda Stuurop, Violin (Domenico Montagnana, Venezia, 1730)
Ruth Hesseling, Violin (Franciscus gobetti, Venezia, 1711)
Janneke van der Meer, Violin (Montagnana, Venezia, 1738)
Antoinette van den Hombergh, Violin (J. B. Lefebvre, 177)
Nicolette Moonen, Violin (Petrus A. Malvoti, 1709)
Linda Ashworth, Viol (Jos. Klotz, Mittenwald, 1770)
Staas Swierstra, Viol (Sympertus Niggell, Füssen/Bavaria, 18th century)
Richte van der Meer, Violoncello (Jacques Boduay, Paris, 1719)
Lidewij Scheifes, Violoncello (Hieronymus Amati, 1700)
Nicholas Pap, Contrabass (yrol, after A. Klotz, 1790)
Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichord (William Dowd, Paris, 1975) | Musical director

Luogo e data di registrazione
Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem (Holland) - Novembre 1981

Registrazione: live / studio

Producer / Recording Supervisor
Wolf Erichson

Recording Engineer

Stephan Schellmann, TRITONUS Stuttgart

Prima Edizione LP
Seon (RCA Res Seal) | RL 30816 | 1 LP - durata 47' 09" | (p) 1982 | DIIGITAL

Edizione CD
Sony | SBK 63188 | 1 CD - durata 47' 09" | (c) 1997 | DDD

Original Cover

Joh. Voorhout - Häusliche Musikszene mit Jan A. Reinken am Cembalo und Dietrich Buxtehude (rechts, mit Notenblatt) - Gemälde. 1674.


Johann Sebastian Bach has gone down in history as being the originator of the virtuoso keyboard concerto, i.e. a concerto for solo keyboard instrument accompanied by the orchestra. As a young man he had already been fascinated by the new form of violin concerto then being developed in Italy. When at Weimar he transcribed 22 solo concertos by Vivaldi, Marcello, Telemann and other composers for organ or harpsichord, thus gradually getting to know the various musical possibilities inherent in the new form, until he felt he could handle it himself with confidence. Later, as court director of music at Cöthen, he composed numerous violin concertos of his own, of which only a few have survived in their original form. Four of them reappeared as individual cantata movements, transcribed for organ and orchestra, in church cantatas written in Leipzig between the years 1726 and 1728. Seven of them he arranged for harpsichord and orchestra for his Collegium Musicum in Leipzig during the thirties. It was during this latter period that Bach also produced the one and only concerto he actually originally conceived for the harpsichord: the C major Concerto for Two Harpsichords (BWV 1061).
Bach’s D minor Concerto (BWV 1052) had a particularly chequered history. Bach wrote three versions: a violin concerto (this original version is not extant), an “organ concerto”, the 1st and 2nd movements of which appear in Cantata No. 146 “Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal” and the 3rd in Cantata No. 188 “Ich habe meine Zuversicht
, and finally, written around the year 1735, a harpsichord concerto. Despite several fundamental changes made to accommodate the keyboard instrument, this final version of the concerto still betrays typical violin characteristics in many places, probably due to the haste in which it was prepared. This cannot detract, however, from the fact that this is a work of impressive grandeur. Faithful to the 18th century's "theory of affects" and views on the use of keys, Bach associated key of D minor with the emotions of fear, panic and despair. The wildly raging character of the introductory ‘tutti’, in which the emotional content of the whole concerto is reflected, is achieved by Bach through the careful combining of a number of different musical devices: unison treatment of all instruments; rhythmic dominance of martial-sounding, hammering quavers; interval leaps, sometimes to as much as a twelfth, which lead to the final abrupt crashing fall; a harmonic scheme which includes the chord of the diminished seventh, in High Baroque always employed to signify the strange or the diabolical.
This monumental opening section determines the course of the entire first movement. At times tightly interwoven contrapuntally, at times treated in a more relaxed, virtuoso style, the thematic material undergoes a constant metamorphosis, with tutti passages alternating with solo ones. Thus Bach manages to construct a fully compact unit. This applies likewise to the following two movements. The Adagio, in the subdominant G minor, again opens with a unison theme, this time characterized by a falling seventh full of pregnant meaning, out of which the solo instrument develops its fanciful, ornamental scrolls. The Allegro movement returns to the turbulent mood of the first movement. This time, however, two contrasting themes are used, i.e. the dualistic principle is adopted. The clash of these two opposing forces sparks off the conflict again, a conflict that at the end still remains hanging in the air, unresolved.
Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, wrote no fewer than three keyboard concertos in D minor within the space of three years, between 1745 and 1748. The third of these (Wq 23), recorded here, is undoubtedly the most successful and shows effectively how the younger generation after J. S. Bach strove to express the same emotions with different, new artistic means. The younger Bach extends the introductory orchestral section to 43 bars (his father’s was only 6 bars long) constructing it in several sections interspersed with pauses. Wild, unbridled emotion is here raised to the level of a governing principle. Sharply dotted rhythms, trills, exaggerated leaps, more extremes of pitch range, and drumming bass lines reveal a state of frenzy and distraction. The solo instrument at first takes up the motifs of the opening section only to decorate them, rather than introduce new contrasts. On the second entry of the solo instrument, however, the movement begins to acquire more the character of a musical dialogue, until, by the fourth solo entry a true contrast is achieved between solo instrument and orchestra.
After a calm and contemplative slow middle movement, C. P. E. Bach returns, as his liuher had done, to the basic mood of the opening for his final movement, increasing the tension even more. Full of vehemence the 46-bar opening ‘tutti’ is a series of six starkly contrasting groups of motifs, beginning in agitated unison, which are joined together in seemingly haphazard manner to form a powerful complex. The first solo section quotes the opening ‘tutti’ only briefly, right at the outset, and then proceeds to present its own individual theme, cantabile and elegiac in character. However, this theme, too, remains little more than an episode. It soon loses its individual contours through embellishments and does not appear again until the end, when it is even then only vaguely alluded to. In this final movement, too, the emotional conflicts expressed by the music remain unresolved.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s D minor Concerto admirably reflects the struggle on the part of this young generation of composers, the forerunners of the Classical composers, to come to terms with the still very novel subjectivity-objectivity relationship in a work of art. The quasi neutral manner of expressing emotions characteristic of the High Baroque was being replaced by an increasingly more personal delivery, coloured by the mental and emotional state of the composer himself at the time. Musical depictions of such states are, however, bound by the experiencing of those states, and therefore cannot be repeated at will. C. P. E. Bach was obviously aware of this, for after 1748 he wrote no more D minor keyboard concertos.
Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht
English translation by Avril Watts