J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos

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Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Artists: Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Amsterdam Bach Soloists

The great Johann Sebastian Bach grew up around violin music: his father Johann Ambrosius was an accomplished violinist. This influence is reflected in Sebastian’s compositional output, which contains a large number of solo and ensemble works for the instrument – including the concertos on this recording.

The works, written in approximately 1720, are based on Vivaldi’s concerto model from the beginning of the 18th century, and – in the case of the D minor and G minor concertos – are reconstructions of the harpsichord concertos. Indeed, many of Bach’s concertos for harpsichord were in fact rearrangements of earlier instrumental works, and from the passagework in BWV 1052 and 1056 it is clear that the violin was originally the intended instrument. Together with rich-sounding dialogue that is a result of the contrast between the intricate solo passages and the slower-moving accompanying instruments, opportunities for virtuosic display abound in all of the works’ final movements, especially in the energetic Gigue of BWV1041.

Violinist Thomas Zehetmair studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum and made his festival debut at the Salzburg Festival aged just 16. He has since built up an impressive international career as a soloist, also performing with the Zehetmair Quartet, and is musical director of the Northern Sinfonia (UK) as well as guest conductor of several other major European orchestras. He is joined in the recording by the acclaimed Amsterdam Bach Soloists.

00:00:00 Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042: I. Allegro
00:07:10 Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042: II. Adagio
00:13:57 Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042: III. Allegro assai
00:16:44 Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041: I. (without tempo marking)
00:20:42 Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041: II. Andante
00:27:00 Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041: III. Allegro assai
00:30:31 Violin Concerto D Minor, BWV 1052, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1052: I. (without tempo marking)
00:37:57 Violin Concerto D Minor, BWV 1052, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1052: II. Adagio
00:44:41 Violin Concerto D Minor, BWV 1052, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1052: III. Allegro
00:52:23 Violin Concerto in G Minor, BWV 1056, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1056: I. (without tempo marking)
00:55:49 Violin Concerto in G Minor, BWV 1056, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1056: II. Largo
00:58:55 Violin Concerto in G Minor, BWV 1056, reconstructed from the Harpsichord Concerto, BWV 1056: III. Presto

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