Oboe Concerto in F major

Oboe Concerto in F major

BWV 1060r performed by Emma Black
and the Netherlands Bach Society
Stadsgehoorzaal, Leiden

  • Menu
  • 1. Allegro
  • 2. Siciliano
  • 3. Allegro

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

A concerto, but for which instrument?

Hunting down a solo work for oboe

Oboists did fairly well out of Bach, as his oeuvre contains more than two hundred oboe solos. They often concern one or two oboes in opening choruses and arias in the cantatas. But the true solo repertoire is sparse. There is no music written just for oboe, analogous to the suites and partitas for violin, cello and flute. Neither is there any chamber music – suites or sonatas with basso continuo – let alone solo concertos for oboe. That’s amazing when you think that the oboe was not an unusual instrument and that Bach had excellent oboists at his disposal wherever he worked.

Here and there, we catch a glimpse of what an oboe concerto by Bach would have sounded like. For instance, cantata BWV 156 opens with a Sinfonia that would look quite at home as the slow movement of an oboe concerto. The same applies to the instrumental Adagio in the Easter Oratorio BWV 249, in which the solo instrument was originally an oboe, before the role was given to the flute in a later version.

These ‘hidden’ movements give us clues, and there are other indications that Bach did indeed compose oboe concertos, whose manuscripts and parts have been lost over the years. For a complete oboe concerto, however, we have to rely on reconstructions (hence the “r” in BWV 1053r and BWV 1060r). The concertos Bach wrote for one or more harpsichords and string instruments during his years in Leipzig, for the local Collegium Musicum, are often thought to be arrangements of concertos he had written earlier for other solo instruments. But which instruments? Numerous suggestions have been made, on the basis of transposing the works to various keys, judging how playable those keys are for different instruments, and seeing whether the lowest and highest notes are within the instruments’ range.

BWV 1053 appears to work best as a concerto for oboe d’amore in D major or, as in this case, an oboe concerto in F major. For every ‘solution’, however, question marks and problems remain, and nothing is certain. But that’s actually a good thing, as then other instrumentalists can always come up with different reconstructions.

Oboe Concerto in F major
orchestral works
Special notes
This concerto is a reconstruction of an oboe concerto, based on the keyboard concerto in E major, BWV 1053.

With support from

L.C.M. Gieles

Extra videos

Musicians on basso continuo

“Basso continuo is the backbone of Baroque music.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    21 January 2021
  • Recording date
    6 December 2019
  • Location
    Stadsgehoorzaal, Leiden
  • Oboe
    Emma Black
  • Violin 1
    Shunske Sato
  • Violin 2
    Pieter Affourtit
  • Viola
    Manuel Visser
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts
  • Double bass
    Hen Goldsobel
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Director
    Gerbrand van Oudenaarden
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Alex de Waal, Dagmar Scheeres, Martin van den Brink
  • Lights
    Zen Bloot
  • Assistant director
    Ferenc Soeteman
  • Video editing
    Bas Wielenga
  • Shading
    Wouter van Teerling
  • Technical assistance
    Mart van Bree
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer concert
    Imke Deters
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh
  • With support from
    L.C.M. Gieles

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