Concerto in D minor
BWV 596 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg
Behind the music
It is immediately clear that this is not the usual Bach
There is an incredibly long prelude at the opening of this piece on a single obsessively repeated note. It is immediately clear that this is not the usual Bach. This Concerto in D minor is an organ version of a concerto for two violins and orchestra from Antonio Vivaldi’s (1678-1741) L’Estro Armonico, a collection that was published in 1711 by the Amsterdam music publisher Estienne Roger. Vivaldi’s music was popular throughout Europe, and Germany was no exception. During his years at the court in Weimar, Bach made a series of arrangements of Italian concerto music for organ and harpsichord, including six concertos by Vivaldi.
Although the precise function of these arrangements is unclear, they are linked to a penchant for Italian music in Weimar. On 8 July 1713, Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar returned home after studying at Utrecht University for two years. The prince was a talented violinist and composer himself, and probably took back a large pile of brand-new music from the Low Countries. One month earlier, one of Bach’s pupils wrote that he wanted to stay in Weimar, as on the prince’s return he “would be able to hear lots of fine Italian and French music” (“kunte also noch manche schöne Italienische und Frantzösische music hören”). Moreover, Bach himself would undoubtedly be playing “incomparable things” (“unvergleichliche Sachen”) on the renovated organ in the castle chapel. This concerto provides both opportunities at once. On a manuscript in Bach’s own hand, the composer noted down the instructions for the registration of the piece himself. From the tense opening, via the bitter-sweet melodious middle movement, to the exciting final movement, the organist and organ could freshen up Weimar with an incomparable Italian breeze.
- Concerto in D minor
- organ works
- Special notes
- An arrangement of Vivaldis Concerto in D minor from LEstro Armonico, opus III no. 11. Up to 1911, it was thought to be a concerto by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.
- Release date
- 21 August 2015
- Recording date
- 21 October 2014
- St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg
- Leo van Doeselaar
- Various builders between the 15th and 19th century. Restoration: Flentrop 2013.
- Frank van der Weij
- Film director
- Jan Van den Bossche
- Director of photography
- Sal Kroonenberg
- Camera assistants
- Andreas Grotevent, Lucas Lütz
- Music production, editing and mix
- Holger Schlegel
- Film editor
- Jasper Verkaart
- Onno van Ameijde
- Vadim Dukart, Andreas Fischer
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