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 Post subject: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:50 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Harpsichord Concertos

The harpsichord concertos, BWV 1052–1065, are concertos for harpsichord, strings and continuo. There are seven complete concertos for a single harpsichord (BWV 1052–1058), three concertos for two harpsichords (BWV 1060–1062), two concertos for three harpsichords (BWV 1063 and 1064), and one concerto for four harpsichords (BWV 1065). Two other concertos include solo harpsichord parts: the concerto BWV 1044, which has solo parts for harpsichord, violin and flute, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, with the same scoring. In addition there is a nine-bar concerto fragment for harpsichord (BWV 1059) which adds an oboe to the strings and continuo.

All of Bach's harpsichord concertos (with the exception of the Brandenburg concerto) are thought to be arrangements made from earlier concertos for melodic instruments probably written in Köthen. In many cases, only the harpsichord version has survived.


Compositional History

From 1729 to 1741, Bach was director of the Collegium musicum in Leipzig, a student musical society, founded by Georg Philipp Telemann in 1703 and run before Bach by Balthasar Schott. The Collegium musicum often gave performances at Zimmermann's coffee house. It was for these occasions that Bach produced his harpsichord concertos, among the first concertos for keyboard instrument ever written. It is thought that the multiple harpsichord concertos were heard earlier than those for one harpsichord, perhaps because his sons C. P. E. Bach and W. F. Bach (both excellent harpsichord players) were living at home until 1733 and 1734, respectively. It is likely that Johann Ludwig Krebs, who studied with Bach until 1735, also played harpsichord in the Collegium musicum.

The concertos for one harpsichord, BWV 1052–1059, survive in an autograph score (now in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin, Mus. ms. Bach P 234) which is not a fair copy but a draft, or working score, and has been dated to about 1738. Bach may of course have played the works much earlier, using the parts from an original melody-instrument concerto and extemporising a suitable harpsichord version while playing.

The works BWV 1052–1057 were intended as a set of six, shown in the manuscript in Bach's traditional manner beginning with 'J.J.' (Jesu Juva) and ending with 'Finis. S. D. Gl.' (Soli Deo Gloria). Aside from the Brandenburg concertos, it is the only such collection of concertos in Bach's oeuvre. The concerto BWV 1058 and fragment BWV 1059 are contained at the end of the score, and are an earlier attempt at a set of (headed J.J.) which was abandoned for one reason or another.

Bach's harpsichord concertos were, until recently, often underestimated by scholars, who did not have the convenience of hearing the benefits that historically informed performance has brought to works such as these. For instance Albert Schweitzer believed "the transcriptions have often been prepared with almost unbelievable cursoriness and carelessness. Either time was pressing or he was bored by the matter." Recent research has demonstrated quite the reverse to be true; he transferred solo parts to the harpsichord with typical skill and variety. Bach's interest in the harpsichord concerto form can be inferred from the fact that he arranged every suitable melody-instrument concerto as a harpsichord concerto, and while the harpsichord versions have been preserved the same is not true of the melody-instrument versions.

More at Wikipedia...

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:50 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Concerto No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052
(Harpsichord solo, violin I/II, viola, continuo)
I. Allegro
II.Adagio
III. Allegro

This harpsichord concerto is thought to be based on a lost violin concerto in D minor which was later arranged as an organ concerto in 1728 for use in two of Bach's cantatas; the first two movements for the sinfonia and first choral movement of Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen, BWV 146 and the last movement is in Ich habe meine Zuversicht, BWV 188. The original is probably one of Bach's earliest concertos and is very virtuosic, in a similar manner to Antonio Vivaldi's Grosso Mogul violin concerto, RV 208, which Bach knew and transcribed for solo organ, BWV 594.

The harpsichord transcription was made by transferring the ripieno string parts without alteration and considerably augmenting the solo part for harpsichord to make it as comparatively virtuosic as the original must have been, as well as adding chords to fill in the harmony and figurative developments in the left hand. This is particularly notable in the first and third movements; in the second movement, however, the left hand almost exactly duplicates the ripieno continuo part, and the right hand plays a melody that is probably taken directly from the original violin part.

The first and third movements share a similar harmonic structure based upon which the movements can be divided into four sections. The opening section of both movements gives the theme in the tonic (D minor) followed by a statement of the theme in the relative major (F major). The second section modulates to the dominant (A minor) and then its relative major (C major). The third section modulates to the subdominant (G minor) and its relative major (B flat major). Finally, the fourth section gives a recapitulation of the theme in the tonic, with no subsequent major key statement.

This concerto has remained the most popular of the collection from the 19th century onwards; Felix Mendelssohn played it and Johannes Brahms wrote a cadenza for it; the first publication of it was in 1838 by the Kistner Publishing House. It was often played and recorded with the piano in the 20th century, though with the rise of historically informed performance from the 1960s, it is now regularly played on the harpsichord again.
More at Wikipedia...


Modern Bach keyboard performances often feature piano rather than harpsichord, though I do not consider these when judging the merit of the music. Thanks to I provide free and legal to download an example of No.1 with piano from with pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha and Ensemble Instrumental de Grenoble conducted by Kurt Redel...





Of more interest to me is this rendition from Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert...





Enjoy! Any comments etc. welcome. Will be going though the other concertos in due course.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:47 am 
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J.S.Bach-Harpsichord Concerto No 1 in D minor---BWV 1052.

The Alexander Street Press version was by the Ensemble de Grenoble, directed by Kurt Redel, with the Lebanese pianist, Abdel Rahman el Bacha, at the keyboard. Tonally the piano fitted in so well with the Ensemble sound. I liked this melodic and strongly rhythmic piece. The pianist performed very well, as did the backing ensemble.

However there was no doubt that The English Concert with Trevor Pinnock directing from the harpsichord, was “the goods”. The three video clips were a delight from beginning to end. The tonal value of the “original” instruments was beautiful, if somewhat strange to our ears, at times ie. the tonality of the “sliding” strings struck me particularly. But it was all good!

Trevor’s direction revealed some interesting multi-layered activity going on as well as the bolder melodic line---and his was the performance of a virtuoso at the keyboard. Altogether a lovely experience.

I came across some other enjoyable performances by excellent Ensembles, as I browsed, but they were rather long as they included other concerti, too.

Looking for something smaller, I was pleased to find Café Zimmermann, directed by Pablo Valetti, with Celine Frisch,harpsichord, and David Plantier, violin. Tonally pleasing and very pleasant listening. Nice!




I always enjoy the music more if I can see the action and this was provided in the next sample. This was of the Musica Viva Amsterdam Ensemble with Shalev ad-el as the harpsichordist and conductor. There were some informative points made by some of the YouTube commentators, especially concerning the different techniques required in the playing of the harpsichord and the piano. Evidently the harpsichord requires a very light touch. This soloist was praised for his performance, too.





Finally I found the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, very much to my liking. Stephan Mai conducted and Raphael Alpermann was at the harpsichord. I liked their tempo and their light touch---the music flowed and tonally they were very pleasing.





Altogether I had a very enjoyable session with this lovely music and some excellent presentations. I hope that you have enjoyed it, too.

Regards,

Pollyp.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:43 pm 
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2nd LIEUTENANT
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Harpsichord is definitely better from a historical view. However, Bach's music is robust and will withstand many horrors.
Thanks Polly for posting Musica Viva Amsterdam Ensemble with Shalev ad-el.
I enjoyed this.
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:05 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Phlogiston wrote:
Harpsichord is definitely better from a historical view. However, Bach's music is robust and will withstand many horrors.
Thanks Polly for posting Musica Viva Amsterdam Ensemble with Shalev ad-el.
I enjoyed this.
Adam

Well the piano will not totally destroy the music, but I can confidently say there is no Steinway rendition to mention that could not be demolished by a good all-Baroque rendition. If this was not the case it would reflect badly on JSB as a composer. Certainly Handel does not need the assistance of a piano to make his harpsichord music sound interesting. I'll say more on the videos presented so far when I find time to play them all!

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:13 am 
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Further to--- Harpsichord Concerto 1 in D minor BWV 1052.

After I’d posted on the above I found this video, which comes almost into the realm of archival. I was most surprised to see that George Malcolm played classical music, as I’d associated him with being a band leader---and as to being a harpsichord virtuoso that was a real surprise!

I suppose that George Malcolm, who led an RAF band and arranged concerts during the war, had been co-opted into ENSA performances , as were so many young musicians, when they toured to entertain the troops. Their careers as Classical musicians would mainly be on hold during that period.

The uploader,"bodhichild", provides some good notes on this performance when you go through to listen on YouTube and click on “show more".





Also I came across an excellent career resumé as I browsed and as it gives the required details, plus some fascinating insights I am providing the link for this ------->

http://www.baroquemusic.org/GeorgeMalcolm.html

Although this performance was before the move to historically correct practices, and George Malcolm approached it in his own way, I found it to be most satisfying and enjoyable. The orchestra and soloist are very compatible as to performance and in their tonality.

A delightful few minutes! Enjoy!

Regards,

Pollyp.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:09 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Here's a little birthday present for Polly, but free and legal for all members to download thanks to . This is the Harpsichord Concerto No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056, performed by by Leopold Hager, conductor and harpsichordist, and the Luxembourg Radio Symphony Orchestra...





Enjoy!

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:14 am 
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Dear TMT,

Thank you for the above links to the Harpsichord Concerto No 5, in F minor, BWV 1056, performed by Leopold Hager (conductor and harpsichordist) and the Luxembourg Radio Symphony Orchestra.

It happens to be a great favourite of mine and I have Celine Fruch with the Cafe Zimmerman performance saved on my computer----after a hunt I found it! However my favourite rendition by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert has vanished since the last upgrade had obliterated the page. It will be somewhere, but quite where this cache of videos is hidden I have yet to discover!

I listened to and enjoyed the video links that you'd attached, Rod---and also thank you for your kind thought! I liked the light touch and the echoes in the Allegro---also delicious melodies.The Largo had that gorgeous rhythmic base under the melody---rather appealing and hypnotic, with the melody singing overhead! A commentator on You Tube had described it as "sweet and ACHING"---the latter goes some way to being an accurate description, I feel. The Presto was vigorous, busy and bright, lively, with a full sound-----a-a-a-and the echo! A very enjoyable few moments of superb music.

To each his/her own! We all have moments of bliss when listening to various composers. This---for me is one of those moments.

I nearly forgot to say that I have been listening to BWV 1056 for most of the morning as although some of the videos had disappeared from CMM I manged to chase them up in alternative uploads on YouTube.

I also recollected that J S Bach-The Complete Harpsichord Concert 3CD pack was amongst my buys a week or two ago----and I hadn't got around to listening to it. So I opened it up and CD2 had BWV 1056 on it. [i] Christine Schornsheim played the harpsichord, accompanied by the Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum conducted by Burkhard Glaetzner.

In the notes there was a notation to say that the beginning movement had no tempo indications---and the Allegro was certainly slower and heavier than previous performances. However the Largo and Presto were similar to what I had been listening to. earlier.

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:52 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
...However my favourite rendition by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert has vanished since the last upgrade had obliterated the page. It will be somewhere, but quite where this cache of videos is hidden I have yet to discover!

Here's the Pinnock recording at YT, very nice it is too...



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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:59 pm 
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COLONEL
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Thank you , Rod for the above videos. I have just had some blissful moments! I have also bookmarked them to have handy until I can find the elusive menu page that disappeared together with my download.

I wish "FF" wouldn't fiddle with something that works perfectly well! I can understand change for improvement, but this , in my estimation, wasn't. Rant over!!!

A change for the better has occurred on YouTube----I noticed it a couple of nights ago, but it may have again been in place for far longer, as for months I have not clicked on it. I'll explain--- The "Show More" was blank when you clicked on it, so I'd stopped doing so. I ventured to click on it two nights ago, and "Hey presto!" it worked! I am very happy about it.

I mean to chase up the missing menu page on FF --- the item was within the videos on Windows Gallery, where the download had deposited it. So it must be lurking somewhere!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:28 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
I wish "FF" wouldn't fiddle with something that works perfectly well! I can understand change for improvement, but this , in my estimation, wasn't. Rant over!!!

I presume by FF you're referring to Firefox, which I abandoned years ago. These days l can recommend a browser called Slimjet...

http://www.slimjet.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:35 am 
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Hi TMT,

Thank you for the browser recommendation---- I may give it a look tomorrow. Recently I have thought of trying Opera again as the chief drawback was so many "hidden" things----but Firefox had started to do that, and I was now coping with that aspect. It has been very quirky and unreliable of late---and "not responding" etc, which is infuriating.

However I have wrongly blamed a Firefox update for the disappearance of the familiar Start Menu!. It seems that it was a Windows 10 thingy. Yesterday I hit Google with a heap of questions and read up the results. It appears that hundreds are up in arms about the change in the Start-up Menu and want it returned to the Windows 8 type screen.

My diligence paid off as in my reading of this and that I may have activated something!!!!?!!!! Accidentally I left clicked on the Start-----and up came the lost menu! The left click had been resulting in a blank previously. So I tried the usual right click and up came the present W10 Start-up, too-----so I now have both! I also have my lost videos and photos back!

Thanks for your help.

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:45 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
Hi TMT,

Thank you for the browser recommendation---- I may give it a look tomorrow. Recently I have thought of trying Opera again as the chief drawback was so many "hidden" things----but Firefox had started to do that, and I was now coping with that aspect. It has been very quirky and unreliable of late---and "not responding" etc, which is infuriating.

However I have wrongly blamed a Firefox update for the disappearance of the familiar Start Menu!. It seems that it was a Windows 10 thingy. Yesterday I hit Google with a heap of questions and read up the results. It appears that hundreds are up in arms about the change in the Start-up Menu and want it returned to the Windows 8 type screen.

My diligence paid off as in my reading of this and that I may have activated something!!!!?!!!! Accidentally I left clicked on the Start-----and up came the lost menu! The left click had been resulting in a blank previously. So I tried the usual right click and up came the present W10 Start-up, too-----so I now have both! I also have my lost videos and photos back!

Thanks for your help.

Regards,

Polly.

Opera has changed a lot in recent years but the new Opera lacks some basic functionality with made me look elsewhere and Slimjet has been my preferred browser for over a year now.

Anyway back on topic, I've long discounted the modern piano as a viable instrument for JSB but recently I've been listening to a fair amount of Bach on 5 octave fortepianos and it still does not sound right. Confirming what I've always thought, that the only instrument that should be played for Bach is the harpsichord, and that all piano recordings from days gone by the great and good are largely irrelevant from not only an academic perspective but to my mind an aesthetic one too.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:20 am 
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BWV 1056

As I have said previously this is a great favourite of mine, and although Trevor Pinnock’s rendition is outstanding I have had a happy time exploring the internet for various other versions, and perhaps will do a posting of my findings, a little later on.

However, yesterday, I discovered another video and just have to post it right now! To my mind it is exquisite!
It is a Baroque Oboe version of BWV 1056, with the instrumentalist being Xenia Loffler. The accompanying orchestra is a Czech Early Music orchestra founded and directed by Vaclav Luks.

Xenia Loffler is a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician and has an outstanding reputation. She is known for her effortless virtuosity and elegance of tone-----rich in colour and nuances. Her performance of the 3rd Movement particularly displayed this.

Vaclav Luks was formerly horn soloist for the Academie für Altmusic, Berlin, before founding and conducting his Czech orchestra. This orchestra is based in Prague.

I loved the sound of the original instruments, and superb instrumental accompaniments; also the lovely oboe performance. I felt that it was very special. I suggest that you increase the volume to play this.





I hope that you will enjoy this.

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:57 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
BWV 1056

As I have said previously this is a great favourite of mine, and although Trevor Pinnock’s rendition is outstanding I have had a happy time exploring the internet for various other versions, and perhaps will do a posting of my findings, a little later on.

However, yesterday, I discovered another video and just have to post it right now! To my mind it is exquisite!
It is a Baroque Oboe version of BWV 1056, with the instrumentalist being Xenia Loffler. The accompanying orchestra is a Czech Early Music orchestra founded and directed by Vaclav Luks.

Very nice Polly, but I am wondering who the arrangement is by? Looking around I found this interesting article on Bach concertos performed with oboe...
http://www.idrs.org/publications/contro ... ehrer.html

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