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Bachcast Episode 23: Italian Concerto, BWV 971

Show Notes

The concerto for keyboard is written in three movements (fast-slow-fast) and has been titled by Bach to be "after Italian taste,” likely a reference to its structure and use of ritornello-solo form. Unlike his transcriptions of orchestral concerti reduced to a keyboard, this is Bach’s composition of an original piece. He does the same thing in his second Clavierübung collection with a French overture-suite for keyboard.

Interpretations vary in chosen tempo and how performers choose to deal with the “ensemble” and “solo” aspects of the work. Historically-informed performers will choose here the harpsichord as the instrument, which is well suited for this task, if a 2-keyboard version is chosen. Instruments with more than one keyboard allow for the instrument to play a different set of strings (2 sets versus 1), or a set of strings sounding an octave higher (4’ stop) or an octave lower (16’) stop.

I’ve chosen a wide variety of performances to illustrate the possibilities for the modern performer.

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Bachcast Episode 24: Cantata, BWV 22

Bachcast Episode 22: Sonata in A minor, BWV 1003