J.s. Bach: Harpsichord Concertos
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
Musica Amphion; Yamagata, Sayuri; Belder, Pieter-Jan; Gómez, Florencia
Piano concertos from Beethoven to Brahms to Busoni and beyond are all indebted to the example of Bach in his Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, and its liberation of the harpsichord from continuo support to virtuoso soloist, in both the spectacular first-movement cadenza and the one-against-many dramatic narrative which marks a revolutionary break with the concerto-grosso model of collegiate co-operation. Bach wrote the six Brandenburgs in his early 30s, while the majority of the works here were either written or compiled once he had moved to Leipzig in 1723. Taking charge of the music at a popular café, he adapted cantata movements and earlier concertos for other instruments, producing seven intricately worked pieces which traverse an expressive range from the high drama of the D minor BWV1052, to the equable dialogue of the D major BWV1054 (a reworking of the E major Violin Concerto) to the tightly wound pathos of the F minor BWV1056. As both a harpsichordist and music director, Pieter-Jan Belder has been recording Bach’s music for more than two decades with Brilliant Classics and the period-instrument Musica Amphion ensemble which he founded in the tradition of distinguished Dutch early-music groups such as Frans Bruggen’s Orchestra of the 18th Century. He and his colleagues play together with a tightly knit sympathy borne of long familiarity and a comprehensive grasp of Bach’s output across every field of his music. Filling out the album to well over two and a half hours of music is the A minor Concerto BWV1044 scored for the same combination of flute, violin and keyboard soloists as the Fifth Brandenburg, and in which the keyboard also takes the starring role, though with certain features which suggest it was either put together late in Bach’s life or possibly by one of his pupils or sons.