All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society
Harpsichord concerto in A major
Reflection of an ideal
The second movement of this concerto is an operatic lamento.
It is actually remarkable that researchers know or suspect that Bach wrote earlier versions of nearly all his harpsichord concertos for another solo instrument. It is almost as though Bach consciously chose not to write a concerto directly for harpsichord. Maybe Bach regarded a composition more as an abstract ideal, of which the various versions were concrete reflections, each one highlighting a different aspect. A composition was therefore a virtually infinite source of musical potential.
The basis for this Harpsichord Concerto in A major, BWV 1055, was probably a concerto for oboe d’amore, as suggested by the key and the fact that it is only really the right hand of the harpsichord that plays concertante. Apart from Bach himself, listeners at the time it was written would probably not have known that the solo instrument was originally an oboe. And if you had not read this, you might not have suspected it either.
However, Bach enjoyed playing with the musical knowledge of his audience. Although we do not know whether he occasionally went to the opera (in Dresden for instance), some of his audience would certainly have known. In the second movement of this concerto, the chromatically descending bass line and the slow, rocking rhythm of the strings resemble a lamento from an Italian opera. The harpsichord part is almost vocal in character. Here, Bach uses strategic musical style features to evoke the suggestion in the listener’s mind of yet another version.
The unusual thing about this concerto, says harpsichordist Franceso Corti, is that it is the only harpsichord concerto by Bach to have a second continuo part, so it would certainly have been played by a second harpsichord as well.
- Harpsichord Concerto in A major
- orchestral work (concerto)
- between 1733 and 1746
- Special Notes
- Probably an arrangement of a concerto written earlier by Bach for oboe d’amore
Cast & Crew
|release date||3 November 2017|
|recording date||3 February 2017|
|location||Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam|
|harpsichords||Bruce Kennedy after Michael Mietke, 1989 and Geert Karman after J.H. Gräbner, 1774|
|conductor and harpsichordist||Francesco Corti|
|violin||Shunske Sato, Noyuri Hazama|
|double bass||Hen Goldsobel|
|director||Lucas van Woerkum|
|assistant director||Stijn Berkhouwer|
|music recording||Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee|
|music edit and mix||Guido Tichelman|
|Camera||Jochem Timmerman, Rene Holbrugge, Kenneth Dirkzwager|
|Intern camera||Klazina Westra|
|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|