Video: American Classical Orchestra Plays J.S. Bach

3

April
2011

Johann Sebastian Bach‘s concertos for harpsichord are simply exuberant, whether composed for one or more keyboards.

The concerto for three harpsichords, strings, and continuo in C major, BWV 1064, one of my all-time favorites, really stands out in my mind because of the effect Bach created in putting three keyboards side-by-side—a striking combination of chaos and order.

Bach wrote one other concerto for three harpsichords (in D minor), evoking a similar effect, yet the C major stands out in my mind.

Scholars believe that BWV 1064 was originally written for three violins (now lost) and then arranged for harpsichords. The evidence, while thin, is convincing enough to have inspired modern editions (deconstructions of the harpsichord version), performances, and recordings.

I’m not convinced—the version for three violins sounds empty by comparison.

Here’s a video of the American Classical Orchestra performing the first movement (Allegro) of BWV 1064, under the direction of Thomas Crawford.

The harpsichord soloists are Raymond Erickson, Lionel Party, and Gregory D’Agostino.

Watch:

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