BACH 718

Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1057
Ruggero Gerlin, harpsichord / Michel Debost & Maxence Larrieu, flutes

Concertos for two harpsichords & strings, BWV 1060 & 1062
Ruggero Gerlin & Huguette Dreyfus, harpsichords

Triple Concerto for flute, violin & harpsichord, BWV 1044
Ruggero Gerlin, harpsichord / Maxence Larrieu, flute / Régis Pasquier, violin

Collegium Musicum Paris / Roland Douatte

1. Concerto No. 6 in F Major
    for harpsichord, two flutes & strings, BWV 1057

    (Allegro) – Andante – Allegro assai

2. Concerto in c-minor for two harpsichords & strings, BWV 1060
    Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

3. Concerto in c-minor for two harpsichords & strings, BWV 1062
    (Allegro) – Andante – Allegro assai

4. Triple Concerto in a-minor for flute, violin & harpsichord, BWV 1044
    Allegro – Adagio ma non tanto e dolce – Alla Breve (Fuga)

Total playing time 71:16

A major source of musical entertainment in Leipzig were the regular concerts provided by the Collegia Musica - secular musical organizations, run mainly by the students of the city's famed University. In 1729 Bach took over one such Collegium, whose activities would now occupy a major creative role in his life. The concerts by Bach's Collegium were given on the premises of Zimmermann's Coffee House, for which Bach provided mainly instrumental music, including clavier works drawn from his Clavierübung and the "48", as well as revisions of his Cöthen and Weimar work.

We begin, and end our disc with a Triple Concerto. The first, for two recorders/flutes and harpsichord, is a direct descendent of the fourth Brandenburg Concerto. The last, for flute, violin and harpsichord, presents a rather more substantial process of re-arrangement; the two outer movements are orchestrated and expanded versions of the Prelude & Fugue for harpsichord, BWV 894, while the middle movement is derived from one of the Trio Sonatas for organ/pedal-harpsichord which Bach composed mainly for use in practice by his sons.

One of Zimmermann's instruments provided for the concerts in the late 1720s was "a clavicymbel of large size and range of expressivity" which made it a Leipzig attraction in itself. An even finer instrument was obtained in 1733. This might well have been a three-manual harpsichord, similar to the one illustrated on our cover depicting the Collegium Musicum of Jena "serenading" a respected professor in 1744. The listener might therefore be fully justified in imagining our two double-harpsichord concertos being proudly performed on the old and new clavicymbels, Bach at one instrument, joined by…. one of his sons – or a student – or possibly even Zimmermann himself…

The origin of BWV 1060 is most probably a Bach concerto for violin and oboe. Though the original is now lost, its reconstruction was long ago attempted and has become popular in its own right. The other double concerto on our disc, BWV 1062, will immediately be recognized as an adaptation of the well-known Double Violin Concerto BWV 1043, another Cöthen original.

Bach must have taken great pleasure in these adaptations. Here he was bringing back memories of his time at Cöthen, a period which, as he later wrote in a letter to an old friend, was one of the happiest times in his life. Now he would be composing and playing for a lively and appreciative audience in a most convivial atmosphere.

Please note that while the Triple Concerto BWV 1044 does not meet the highest technical standards, we have included this historic performance since in our belief it has simply never been bettered. We particularly like the power and drive in the last all-important fugal movement, so often taken lightly, almost flippantly.

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