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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares


With Katia and Marielle Labèque on fortepianos, the Concerto in C major for two harpsichords, strings and basso continuo (BWV 1061) by Johann Sebastian Bach is played here on period instruments by the ensemble Il Giardino Armonico under the baton of Giovanni Antonini. What is different here is that, instead of harpsichords, the Labèque sisters play fortepianos. The concert took place in 2000 at the Musikverein in Vienna.

00:00 I. without tempo designation
07:15 II. Adagio ovvero Largo
11:56 III. Fugue

The 13 concertos that Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) wrote for one or more harpsichords with orchestral accompaniment are significant in music history. In a sense, they mark the beginning of the story of the piano concerto, which was then developed by the Bach sons. In almost all of the harpsichord concertos, Bach drew on his own earlier works and arranged them for this keyboard instrument, which was popular at the time. The harpsichord concertos were written for the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig, a student orchestra that Bach led from 1723 and with which he held regular concerts in a coffee house.

The Concerto for two harpsichords, strings and basso continuo in C major, written between 1732 and 1735, was probably originally meant for two harpsichords only. This, at least, is suggested by the fact that the string orchestra has no independent role. In the first and third movements it only doubles the harpsichord part, in the middle movement the two keyboard instruments even play without accompaniment.

The special feature of this concerto is that Katia and Marielle Labèque play the harpsichord part on fortepianos. Thus, although the sound seems historical, it has a much sharper profile. A delight for the two virtuosic pianists!