J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) – Concerto for 2 violins in d minor, BWV 1043While the piano reduction of the original orchestral version makes this an unusual choice for a serious classical music recital, Bach himself was involved in similar small chamber music performances, making practical arrangements of his works to be performed by the smaller ensemble available at such events.
Often for Bach, “concerto” meant more that different instruments played together (“concerted”) rather than the modern concept of soloist and orchestra, and this particular work also exists in an arrangement made by Bach for two harpsichords.
In fact, at the time that the “Double” violin concerto was written Bach’s career had taken a distinctly pragmatic turn.
Though he longed to write “well-regulated” (Bach’s words) church music during this period, he was employed by the young amateur musician Prince Leopold and thus lived in a solidly Calvinist principality where no high church music was tolerated.
Bach made lemonade from lemons and produced a great number of instrumental works for the Prince including this concerto, arguably the most beloved of all baroque violin music. Likely this work would have been performed by Bach and his small group of instrumentalists, the Collegium Musicum, at lively public concerts held for the middle class at a local coffee house or al fresco in the summer.
You can hear this piece and more in Blanco, Texas, where it will be performed by the violin duo, Julia Pautz and Kathryn Eberle on Sunday, June 24, at 3 pm in the Uptown Blanco Ballroom.