BACH 717

Concerto for oboe and strings in F Major (from BWV 1053)
Han de Vries, oboe / The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra / David Zinman

Concerto No. 3 in D Major for harpsichord and strings, BWV 1054
Concerto No. 4 in A Major for harpsichord and strings, BWV 1055
Concerto No. 5 in f-minor for harpsichord and strings, BWV 1056

Ruggero Gerlin, harpsichord / Collegium Musicum Paris / Roland Douatte

Triple Concerto in D Minor for flute, oboe, violin & strings (from BWV 1064)
Hans Jürgen Mohring, flute / Georg Friedrich Hendel, violin /
The German Bach Soloists, Helmut Winschermann, oboe & conductor

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1.  Concerto for oboe and strings in F Major (from BWV 1053)
    Allegro – Siciliano – Allegro

2. Concerto No. 3 in D Major for harpsichord and strings, BWV 1054
    (Allegro) – Adagio e piano sempre - Allegro

3.  Concerto No. 4 in A Major for harpsichord and strings, BWV 1055
    Allegro – Larghetto – Allegro ma non tanto

4.  Concerto No. 5 in f-minor for harpsichord and strings, BWV 1056
    Allegro – Largo - Presto

5.  Triple Concerto in D Minor for flute, oboe, violin & strings (from BWV 1064)
    Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

Total playing time 79:54

A major source of musical entertainment in Leipzig were the regular concerts provided by the Collegia Musica - secular musical organizations, run mainly by the students of the city's famed University. In 1729 Bach took over one such Collegium, whose activities would now occupy a major creative role in his life. The concerts by Bach's Collegium were given on the premises of Zimmermann's Coffee House, for which Bach provided mainly instrumental music, including clavier works drawn from his Clavierübung and the "48", as well as revisions of his Cöthen and Weimar work.

While the concertos to be heard on this disc were in all probability prepared specifically for the Collegium concerts, derived from earlier, mostly Cöthen-composed material, the first concerto, however, offers a more devious lineage. Bach's Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1053 was derived from two of his cantatas. The first and second movements were first heard, according to the latest dating, on October 20th, 1726 as the Sinfonia and Aria 5 respectively of Cantata 169, while for the last movement Bach used the opening Sinfonia from Cantata 49, first performed on November 3rd, again in 1726. Our present concerto is a contemporary oboe version of the harpsichord concerto. Since both outer movements feature the oboe in their original cantata versions, transcription for the oboe as a solo instrument would seem quite appropriate. While the present transcription follows the harpsichord and string scoring exactly, it nonetheless shows the concerto in a new light and can be enjoyed by those familiar with Bach's own harpsichord version. Han de Vries gives a wonderfully sensitive performance, as does the orchestra under Zinman.

Of the next three concertos, BWV 1054, 55 and 56, the first is a transcription by Bach of his Violin Concerto in E Major BWV 1042, and it may be supposed that the other two are also transcriptions of Cöthen works, most probably lost violin concertos.

The origin of Bach's Concerto for 3 Harpsichords & Strings, BWV 1064, is not known. It would seem clear to the present writer from internal evidence, that the original was a concerto for three solo instruments (violin/flute etc as available) by Bach composed at the same time as his Brandenburg Concertos. The complexity and style of the contrapuntal writing especially in the last movement, could only come from Bach himself. Here we attempt a reconstruction of the supposed original. This is a beautifully clear recording of fine performances.

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