This is the first volume in a complete survey of Bach's harpsichord concertos, recorded by La Risonanza and Fabio Bonizzoni in one-to-a-part practice performance.
Bach is often credited with having invented the keyboard concerto, despite the fact that all of his works in the mode were arrangements of existing concertos for other instruments. Furthermore, whatever influence they may have had was indirect. It’s unlikely that either Haydn or Mozart had heard any of this music or even knew of its existence. But Haydn may have encountered the keyboard concertos of Carl Philippe Emanuel, and Mozart knew Johann Christian’s works in the genre. Nevertheless the elder Bach’s concertos, whether played on a harpsichord, or on a piano, retain a revered place in the keyboard literature. Many listeners will remember the veteran Baroque specialist, Bob van Asperen, from his collaboration with Gustav Leonhardt in the Teldec Bach cantata series. Here he plays the solo concertos with expected grace and fluidity, accompanied by Melante Amsterdam, which is basically an expanded period-instruments string quartet. The performances have a chamber-like intimacy, which is especially attractive, for example, in the famous Largo of the F-Minor concerto (BWV 1056). The recording, dating back to 1993, sounds brand new.(George Chien)
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!