Bach, Bach, Bach – there is no end to it! Can you imagine that 350 years after the birth of this composer, artists from all walks of life still feel inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach? He seems to be everywhere, and every classical musician’s reference point. Before Bach, it would seem, there was nothing, and after him… well, there is Madonna. It’s unsettling in a way, and still I could not live comfortably without Bach’s music. What an achievement for a human being who certainly did not believe a minute that his music would transcend his death. And he was right about this presumption since some 100 years had to pass before Felix Mendelssohn would rekindle the Bach fervour when he performed Bach’s Passion according to St Matthew.
At times I feel like an archeologist: Writing about Johann Sebastian Bach’s music compels me to dig up different, often contradicting sources, balancing one expert’s opinion against the other (as a non-expert!), and if this sounds like a lot of work – it is a lot of work! But at the same time it gives me a lot of satisfaction since it comes close to a treasure hunt across Baroque Germany. Today’s post is about a Concerto in D minor with the catalogue number BWV 1052 and I started out with a version that Bach did not write.
The father of the Protestant faith, Martin Luther, was what the Germans call a “Menschenfreund”, a friend of mankind. Through his faith he loved his next as he should, of course, and man’s salvation was his lifelong obsession. But above all, he loved to socialize. He would gather teachers and student in his dining hall in Wittenberg, they would eat, drink, sing, recite poems, read from the gospel and discuss religious and worldly matters until late at night.
The summer is not over yet? If that is so, let’s celebrate one more sunny day with one of the most beautiful double-concertos I know of. Sparks of joy, energy and vitality mark this piece, which had to be considered avant-garde at the time of its composition. In the year 1740, the Baroque era was drawing to its end and composers in the wake of Johann Sebastian Bach were bridging the gap to the Vienna classics era. One of these composers was Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, the second son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Just like the keyboard concerto I have presented in an earlier post in July, today’s piece foreshadows the modern concertos that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven would write several decades later.