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J.S. Bach: Solo Concertos

Box Set


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Bach, J.S.: Solo Concertos (Reconstructed Concertos) Amazon Music Unlimited
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Audio CD, Box set, May 26, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product description

Christine Schornsheim, orgue - Karl Suske, violon - Burkhard Glaetzner, hautbois - Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig - Max Pommer, direction

Review

This three-disc set of Bach concerto reconstructions summons memories that now seem ancient of Max Pommer and his New Bach Collegium Musicum, a modern-instrument ensemble he founded in 1978 to promote the music of the Baroque. By that time, the period-instrument movement was well under way, with the groundbreaking recordings of Bach's cantatas led by Harnoncourt and Leonhardt already harbingers of things to come. My memories, it turns out, are not quite as ancient as I thought they were, for these Phoenix Edition recordings, which originally appeared on the Capriccio label, were made in 1986.

One could base an entire monograph on the provenance of these concerto reconstructions, arguing for or against their legitimacy. But these recordings are not for those who are hung up on how a number of these patchwork concoctions came to be, or who are particularly concerned about matters of historical authenticity. Rather, they are for those who just love the sound of Bach's music.

Let's begin with the best known of these reconstructions, and the ones about which there now seems to be general scholarly agreement. The Concerto in C Minor for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060, is now widely believed to be its original version, so this is most likely not a reconstruction. Bach transcribed it for performance as a harpsichord concerto by Telemann's Collegium Musicum. Likewise, the Concerto in A Major for Oboe d'amore, BWV 1055, is also now generally accepted as being the original version. So this in all likelihood is not a reconstruction either. My guess is that 25 years ago when these recordings were made, these two concertos were better known in their harpsichord versions, and it was not as widely agreed that the versions heard here were in all probability the originals, which explains why these are included as reconstructions. It also explains why the two solo violin concertos in A Minor, BWV 1041, and E Major, BWV 1042, and the double concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043, are not included in this collection, since these have always been known to be their original versions.

With the Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052, the opposite situation exists. It has long been known only in its harpsichord version; and though speculation is strong that it, too, was originally a violin concerto, a manuscript or published edition has not been found. This applies as well to the Concerto in D Major for Three Violins, which has always been known in its C-Major version for three harpsichords. Things get a bit messier with the D-Major Concerto for Oboe d'amore, BWV 1053. It's better known in its guise as a harpsichord concerto in E Major, but in turn, is comprised of movements from cantatas, BWV 169 and BWV 49, both of which predate Bach's autograph score of the concerto.

At this point, readers are probably rolling their eyes and asking themselves, "Who cares?" It's like trying to figure out who is the second cousin twice removed of your mother's sister's aunt. As I intimated in the beginning, these recordings are not for those of the historically informed period-practice persuasion. There are many more recent period-instrument performances on recordings to choose from, either in their keyboard or "reconstructed" versions. Pommer and his Leipzig band bring to Bach's music a wonderful blend of high spirits and a feeling of ennoblement. Soloists include Karl Suske, first chair violin of Berlin's Suske Quartet and one-time concertmaster of the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra; Burkhard Glaetzner, one-time first oboist of the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Ludwig Güttler, one-time first trumpeter with the Dresden Philharmonia. They join with a number of other fine musicians in music-making of the highest caliber to bring you many hours of unalloyed pleasure. -- Fanfare, Jerry Dubins, Nov/Dec 2009

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Product details

  • Conductor: Pommer
  • Composer: Bach
  • Audio CD (May 26, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Phoenix Edition
  • ASIN: B0020MSTC2
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #832,790 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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