All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society
Violin Concerto in D minor
The many lives of a masterpiece
Back in time to the source of a harpsichord concerto.
Just imagine Bach’s excitement when Vivaldi’s famous violin concertos eventually reached Thüringen. As a violinist himself, and apparently one of the better ones, he must intuitively have recognised the potential of the fashionable genre. He decided to experiment with it himself and to astonish people. This violin marvel – the Violin Concerto in D minor – immediately became such a technical challenge that few soloists were able to tackle it. Too few, probably, as not a shred of it has survived. The concerto played here is a modern reconstruction, based on a harpsichord concerto written much later by Bach, but which is presumed to originate from a violin concerto. Maybe Bach’s children and students, who were keyboard players, had no interest in an ‘unplayable’ violin piece.
Always up-to-the-minute, Bach adapted easily to his circumstances, just like the Dutch masters in the Gallery of Honour in the Rijksmuseum. No matter whether the customer wants a flamboyant painting of the civic guard, a mildly erotic biblical scene or an intimate still life, a craftsman always delivers to order – to those who can pay. Likewise the practical Bach, who sometimes rewrote successes from the past, if possible. Ideas abound as to how a challenging violin concerto became a harpsichord concerto. What first springs to mind might be the Leipziger Collegium Musicum, where Bach often played harpsichord solos, or maybe a visit to Dresden, where he undoubtedly wanted to make a musical impression. Musicologist Christoph Wolff suspects there was also an organ version, which Bach may have played in Dresden, in 1724. This could explain how some parts of this concerto turn up a few years later in cantatas 146 and 188. And there are even those who voice the opinion that the arrangement (or even the work itself) is not by Bach’s hand!
Whatever the case, Bach was clearly proud of this music. The final keyboard version from 1738, which survives in a score written by Bach himself, opens a set of concertos. This manuscript follows the same lines as all the keyboard collections compiled by Bach in the autumn of his life. They were intended to preserve his work for posterity and may also have been made with the market in mind.
- Violin Concerto in D minor (reconstruction)
- Special notes
- This is a reconstruction of the presumed original form of the harpsichord concerto in D minor, BWV 1052. Bach also used the first and second movement of this concerto in the cantata Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146.
Cast & Crew
|release date||12 July 2019|
|recording date||11 May 2018|
|Harpsichord||Johannes Ruckers, 1640|
|conductor and violin||Shunske Sato|
|violin 1||Anneke van Haaften|
|violin 2||Lucia Giraudo|
|double bass||James Munro|
|Director and editor||Bas Wielenga|
|music recording||Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee|
|music edit and mix||Guido Tichelman|
|camera||Ramon de Boer, Tim van der Voort, Bart Krimp|
|lights||Zen Bloot, Henry Rodgers|
|assistant director||Ferenc Soeteman|
|set technique||Alex de Gier|
|data handling||Kira Falticeau|
|project manager Videobrix||Peter Hazenberg|
|interview||Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans|
|producer concert||Imke Deters|
|producer film||Jessie Verbrugh|