Concerto in G major

Concerto in G major

BWV 592 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

  • Intro
  • 1. Allegro
  • 2. Grave
  • 3. Presto

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Credits
Credits

Tribute to a talented composer who died young

Bach transcribed string concerts in order to practice a new genre

The Concerto in G major is one of a group of five concerto transcriptions made by Bach in Weimar around 1713. Compositions by Vivaldi served as examples for three of these transcriptions. The original on which this concerto is based was written by Prince Johann Ernst. This young nephew of Bach’s employer in Weimar, who was a promising violinist and composer, lived in the Netherlands for a while. When Vivaldi’s revolutionary volume of string concertos, L’estro armonico, was published in Amsterdam in 1711, Johann Ernst immediately set to work on writing concertos as well. Although Bach was also fascinated by this new Italian genre, he took a different approach. He started by making transcriptions, presumably to get to grips with the finer points first. Maybe it would have been better for the young prince to do likewise, as Bach made considerably more ‘corrections’ and improvements to his composition than he did to Vivaldi’s concertos.

Nevertheless, it is a piece to be reckoned with. The first movement exudes such overwhelming joy that it brings tears to your eyes. The simple little motifs of the solo and tutti parts are played on various keyboards always a step higher, until they reach the highest regions. It is one-dimensional in the very best sense of the word. As a contemplative counterpart, the middle movement is dominated by a rather mysterious, legato rhythm. In the final movement, the same overwhelming youthful exuberance returns again.

The prince died in 1715, when he was only eighteen years old. We can only guess at what he might have produced had he lived. But the fact that Bach recognised his talent and did not think himself above revealing the potential of this boy’s work speaks volumes.

BWV
592
Title
Concerto in G major
Instrument
Organ
Genre
organ works
Year
ca. 1713
City
Weimar
Special notes
After a concerto for violin, strings and basso continuo by Prince Johann Ernst von Saksen-Weimar.

Extra videos

Organist Leo van Doeselaar

“Bach arranged a simple piece composed by his employer and turned it into something special.”

Vocal texs

Original

Translation

Credits

  • Release date
    13 March 2015
  • Recording date
    23 June 2014
  • Location
    Walloon Church, Amsterdam
  • Organist
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Organ
    Christian Müller, 1734
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Directors of photography
    Sal Kroonenberg, Ruben van den Broeke
  • Grip
    Antoine Petiet
  • Music production, editing and mix
    Holger Schlegel
  • Film editor
    Dylan Glyn Jones
  • Colorist
    Jef Grosfeld
  • Production assistants
    Marco Meijdam, Zoë de Wilde
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