Violin Concerto in G minor BWV 1056 R

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
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Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)

Performance date: 27/06/2015

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: (1714-1729)

Duration: 00:09:04

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: vn (2vn,va,vc, db, lute, hpd)

Artists: Arcangelo (Sophie Gent, James Toll [violins], Rebecca Jones [viola], Sarah McMahon [cello], Tim Amherst [bass], David Miller [lute], Jonathan Cohen [harpsichord,director]) - [baroque ensemble]
Alina Ibragimova - [violin]

Violin Concerto in G minor BWV 1056 R

Bach’s long reign at Leipzig from 1723 to his death, his main responsibility
was as Cantor et Director Musices to
St Thomas Church and School, where he acted as composer, musical director and
teacher. In addition to this from 1729 he also took on the directorship of the
weekly Collegium Musicum concerts in
the famous Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse. This renowned concert series had developed
out of the seventeenth century practice of musically active university students
forming their own private musical societies in order to put on concerts. Bach’s
Collegium had been founded in 1701 by
Telemann as a twenty-year-old student. The Collegium’s
collaboration with Zimmermann’s gave the series a significant boost as his
hall had the space for substantial ensembles on stage and an audience of 150.

concerts were not just an amusing hobby, quite the contrary they were the first
serious concerts held in Leipzig and mark the beginning of the civic concert
programme that led eventually to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Concerts that continue
to this day. Bach now was responsible, in addition to his regular church music
obligations, for preparing and carrying out this weekly series of two-hour
concerts throughout the year. It was undoubtedly for these concerts that Bach
put together his series of six harpsichord concertos, arranging for his own
instrument from earlier works.

had not needed great scholarship to see that three of these concertos were
arrangements of known pre-existing works. Then, given that so many of Bach’s
manuscripts and autographs have been lost, it did not demand a great leap of
imagination to wonder about the missing scores that were the originals of the
remaining arrangements. Thus was born the ‘R’ concerto, namely the
reconstruction of a lost solo concerto, one of which opens today’s Coffee

The original Violin Concerto is thought to date from
Bach’s last years in Weimar, but to complicate the story even further, he only
used the two outer movements. For the lovely slow movement he borrowed from the
cantata BWV 156 Ich steh mit einem Fuss
im Grabe,
which dates from 1729.
The reconstruction sticks with this plan, which is not as outrageous as it
looks, for Bach continually borrowed from himself to create new works. However
it does show the hypothetical character of the reconstruction, hopefully offset
by the immense gain of another violin concerto that is mostly by Bach.