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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Concerto for violin, oboe, strings and basso continuo in D minor, BWV 1060R (c.1735) [14.21] (trs 1-3)
Concerto for flute, violin, harpsichord, strings and basso continuo in A minor, BWV 1044 (1730) [23.06] (trs. 4-6)
Concerto for harpsichord, strings and basso continuo in D minor, BWV 1052 (1738) [23.08] (trs. 7-9)
Collegium Aureum: Franzjosef Maier, violin (trs. 1-6); Helmut Hucke, oboe (trs. 1-3); Barthold Kuijken, flute (trs. 4-6); Bob van Asperen, harpsichord (trs. 4-6); Gustav Leonhardt, harpsichord (trs. 7-9)
rec. April 1976, Schetzinger Schloss, Jagdsaal, Germany (trs. 1-6); 23 Nov 1965, Cedernsaal des Fuggerschlosses Kirchheim, Schwaben, Germany (trs. 7-9). ADD
DHM DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 82876 70044 2 [60.35]




Collegium Aureum perform three attractive concertos by J.S. Bach on this DHM release. The German ensemble Collegium Aureum, founded in 1962 by the Freiburg-based record company Harmonia Mundi, have built a distinguished reputation in the early music repertoire. Their excellent performances informed by historical performance practice use period instruments. In accordance with the convention of the late-baroque Court Orchestra, Collegium Aureum work without a conductor, being led by the concert-master, as a primus inter pares.

These three recordings have all been previously released from the extensive Sony/BMG back catalogue. The Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 was recorded over forty years ago in Schwaben, in 1965. Both the Double Concerto in D minor, BWV 1060R and the Triple Concerto in A minor, BWV 1044 were recorded a decade later in Jagdsaal.

The origins of the Concerto for violin, oboe, strings and basso continuo in D minor, BWV 1060R remain the subject of speculation. It is not known for sure when Bach composed it. However, it is known that he produced an arrangement of it in 1735, where he replaced the violin and oboe parts with a pair of harpsichords, as the Concerto for two harpsichords, BWV 1060. The version recorded here is now only available as a reconstruction extrapolated from the two harpsichords edition.

In fine this performance of the adagio has an eloquent melody for the violin and oboe presented over pizzicato accompaniment. The outstanding soloists, violinist Maier and oboist Hucke expertly engage in an intricately woven interchange with the orchestra. In the two outer allegro movements they join together impressively in a profitable conversation with the orchestra.

It is known that the two concertos BWV 1044 and BWV 1052 were the product of Bach’s activities during the time of his directorship of the Collegium musicum in Leipzig. This post enabled him to pursue his predilection for composing concertante orchestral music.

It is thought likely that the Concerto for harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 uses material from the work of another composer. Unfortunately the substance of this contention cannot be assessed since the original version, probably a violin concerto, cannot be found. The virtuoso part for the harpsichord has a spacious conception and eminent soloist Leonhardt is highly convincing and performs splendidly with the players of Collegium Aureum.

It is known that the Concerto for flute, violin, harpsichord in A minor, BWV 1044 is based on Bach’s arrangements from his own preludes and fugues for solo keyboard instruments. Contrary to what one might expect, the concertante dialogue between the three instruments does not take centre-stage in the Triple Concerto. Bach concentrates on retouching in greater detail the material of the harpsichord original with the timbral hues of the orchestra. The three soloists, flautist Kuijken, violinist Maier and harpsichordist van Asperen are well matched and provide convincing performances, responding successfully to the challenge.

The sound quality on this re-release is fresh and clean and the booklet notes, although fairly concise, are more than acceptable. Smooth, elegant and thoughtful playing of these three Bach works from Collegium Aureum.

Michael Cookson






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