Concerto in D minor

Concerto in D minor

BWV 596 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg

  • 1. Allegro - Grave - Fugue
  • 2. Largo e spiccato
  • 3. Allegro

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Credits
Credits

Incomparable things

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.

BWV
596
Title
Concerto in D minor
Instrument
Organ
Genre
organ works
Year
1714-17
City
Weimar
Special notes
An arrangement of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D minor from L’Estro Armonico, opus III no. 11. Up to 1911, it was thought to be a concerto by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.

Extra videos

Organist Leo van Doeselaar

“This piece is unusual in the fact that Bach notated the registration instructions himself.”

Vocal texs

Original

Translation

Credits

  • Release date
    21 August 2015
  • Recording date
    21 October 2014
  • Location
    St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg
  • Organist
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Organ
    Various builders between the 15th and 19th century. Restoration: Flentrop 2013.
  • Producer
    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
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Vadim Dukart, Andreas Fischer
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