All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Concerto for two violins in D minor

BWV 1043 performed by Shunske Sato, Emily Deans and the Netherlands Bach Society
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam

"The second movement feels like a kind of spiritual love cantilene between the two violins."


“The best eight minutes of music ever.”

The two solo parts of this concerto have survived in Bach’s own handwriting. This autograph dates from around 1730, a few years after the composer had moved from Köthen to Leipzig. Bach composed most of his instrumental concertos in the period 1717–1723, while working at the court of Leopold von Anhalt-Köthen, but this work appears to be an exception. However, it may not be that simple.

At first sight, this is a concerto in three movements in Vivaldian style and is similar to other concertos by Bach. But a more careful reading and hearing reveal peculiarities regarding, for example, the traditional contrast effects between refrains (ritornellos) and the solo episodes in between. Here, these building blocks are less demarcated than usual. Indeed, all three movements have actually been composed in three parts. The first movement, for example, is modelled on a fugue, but the viola withdraws from the fugal discourse. This concerto could also be performed as a trio sonata for two violins and basso continuo, and it probably originated as such. Does this bring us back to Köthen?

After the fugal opening movement, a dreamy siciliano unfolds, in which the two solo violin parts intertwine lovingly above a simple accompaniment of chords. “The best eight minutes of music ever”, says solo violinist Emily Deans.

In the last movement, the two solo violins are hot on each other’s heels. Even more so than the first movement, this Allegro fuels the suspicion that the parts for the accompanying ensemble were added later. The fact that Bach has the solo violins play accompanying figures (repeated quavers in double stops) for seven bars twice during the argument is in contradiction, to say the least, to the hypothesis of a trio sonata. The composer is here playing puss in the corner, as in these passages the actual solo parts have simply been transferred to the accompanying ensemble. Soloists Shunske Sato and Emily Deans enjoy this “head bashing, rock-and-roll moment” – whatever the origins might be.


Concerto for two violins in D minor

orchestral work (double concerto)

ca. 1730 or ca. 1720?

Leipzig or Köthen?

Special Notes
Bach later arranged this double concerto for two harpsichords, strings and continuo (BWV 1062), transposed to the key of C minor.

Cast & Crew

release date 6 October 2017
recording date 7 October 2016
location Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam
violin and leader Shunske Sato
violin Emily Deans
violin 1 Lucia Giraudo, Lidewij van der Voort
Viool 2 Anneke van Haaften, Paulien Kostense, Annabelle Ferdinand
viola Pieter Affourtit, Jan Willem Vis
Cello Lucia Swarts, Barbara Kernig
double bass Hen Goldsobel
harpsichord Siebe Henstra
director Lucas van Woerkum
assistant director Stijn Berkhouwer
music recording Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Misha de Kanter
music edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera Bart ten Harkel, Thijs Struick, Martin Struijf
Intern camera Klazina Westra
Lights Zen Bloot
Set technique Justin Mutsaers
Data handling Jesper Blok
project manager NEP Peter Ribbens
Producer concert Marco Meijdam
producer film Jessie Verbrugh
Interview Onno van Ameijde

Vocal Texts




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