Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: 'Concertos for Two Harpsichords'

Magazine article Gramophone

JS Bach: 'Concertos for Two Harpsichords'

Article excerpt

JS Bach

'Concertos for Two Harpsichords'

Keyboard Concertos--BWV1060; BWV1061; BWV1062. Orchestral Suite No 1, BWV1066 (arr Masato Suzuki)

Masaaki and Masato Suzuki hpds

Bach Collegium Japan

BIS [F] [SACD]. BIS2051 (71' * DDD/DSD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The two-keyboard idiom only occasionally catches our attention but when it does it's always original and telling, be it Bach, Mozart or Bartok. Here, Masaaki Suzuki and his son, Masato, remind us of the special merits of a Bach sub-genre: the three concertos for two harpsichords from Leipzig, or more specifically from the years after 1729 when the composer directed the meetings of the Collegium Musicum.

All four pieces are transcriptions of a kind, the two C minors (BWV1060 and 1062) dropping a tone from their original earlier contexts as the 'great double' (two violins) and the 'violin and oboe' concertos. Choosing how to build a canvas for these refashioned pieces can take you from the pioneering Leonhardt readings, which introduced one-to-a-part chamber scorings, to the thrusting modern chamber-orchestra versions from the likes of George Malcolm and Karl Richter.

Masaaki imagines these works very much as chamber creations but presented with a warm resonance which will suit almost all constituencies. …

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