Concerto for two violins in D minor

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

  • Menu
  • 1. Vivace
  • 2. Largo ma non tanto
  • 3. Allegro

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos


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 works
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.

Extra videos

Shunske Sato and Emily Deans

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

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    6 October 2017
  • Recording date
    7 October 2016
  • Location
    Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam
  • Violin and direction
    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
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans
  • Producer concert
    Marco Meijdam
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh

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