In 1717 Johann Sebastian Bach entered the service of the Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen. It was an appointment that was to prove highly fruitful, as, free from ecclesiastical duties and with an instrumental ensemble of about 17 players to hand; Bach took the opportunity to expand his instrumental output – writing, among others, a collection of violin concertos.
Also dating from this period are the Harpsichord Concertos, products of the composer’s association with the Telemann Musical Society. Indeed, just as Handel is credited with the birth of the organ concerto, the harpsichord concerto owes its origins to J.S. Bach – whose weekly appearances at the Society were an ideal forum in which to transcribe extant concerto movements for solo and multiple harpsichords. From the sunny disposition of BWV1053 to the dramatic interplay between solo parts in BWV1062, Bach effectively cultivated a new, heightened form of expression in all these works – the majority of which are probably transcriptions of earlier (including lost) violin concertos by himself and others.
Dedicated to the composer’s complete works in the medium, this release celebrates the birth of one of the most important genres in music history. Christine Schornsheim, Pieter-Jan Belder and their harpsichord colleagues provide commanding readings, and are deftly supported by the Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum and Musica Amphion; spanning 3 CDs and over three hours of performances, this recording represents compulsive listening for the harpsichord connoisseur and Baroque enthusiast alike.
- Recordings made 1990 (CD1) & 1992 (CD2), Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig; May & June 2006, Schiedam/Leiden (CD3).
- This release contains the solo concertos and the concertos for 2, 3 and 4 harpsichords.
- Booklet notes included.