Towards the end of his life, Johann Sebastian Bach made a second collection of concertos, these for keyboard. Around 1738 he put this together, possibly as a way of publicizing his work with the Leipzig Collegium , or possibly with an eye towards publishing them. The six works are all somewhat eclectic since they seem to have been transcriptions of works for other instruments, as the informative booklet notes by soloist Aapo Häkkinen state. There are other sources in the Bach archives, so how he put them together can more or less be traced, and in recording these, Häkkinen and his Helsinki Baroque Orchestra have decided that they would be split into two volumes.
In 2012, too, there are prominent treasures to be found: Aapo Häkkinen plays Bach’s Concertos for solo harpsichord and strings – the crown jewels of the harpsichord and piano literature – on a 16’ harpsichord, that is to say, an instrument with an additional, very low sounding register. Although Bach probably used a similar harpsichord himself, this is the first recording of this cycle of works on an instrument of this kind built in a historical manner!
Composer: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Performer: Claudio Astronio, Marco Facchin
Conductor: Claudio Astronio
Orchestra/Ensemble: Harmonices Mundi String Ensemble
"…The playing of the Retrospect Ensemble is spot-on from beginning to end. Tempos are brisk but not pressed to the point that compromises articulation or unanimity of bowing and fingering, and the readings are buoyant, energetic, and fresh-sounding. Complemented by Linn's wonderfully clear and transparent multichannel recording, Bach's music shines." ~Fanfare
Attracted by a delightful fusion of early music sonorities with modern expressiveness, the three composers in this amazingly rich and varied programme build on the magnificent harpsichord concerto legacy of JS Bach. John Rutter’s beautiful Suite Antique is full of rich and haunting themes, with a significant solo flute part and a jazzy Waltz which is as much Brubeck as Bach. Philip Glass delivers an exciting experience of virtuoso instrumental blending and solo expressiveness, and with typical wit and elegance. Jean Françaix’s Concerto is terrific fun throughout.