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Bach: Transcriptions of Concertos by Vivaldi & Marcello / Sophie Yates

Bach,J.s. / Yates,Sophie
Release Date: 05/28/2013 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 796   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Transcriptions of Concertos by Vivaldi and the Marcellos: in D, BWV 972 ; in G, BWV 973 ; in d, BWV 974 ; in g, BWV 975 ; in C, BWV 976 ; in F, BWV 978 ; in G, BWV 980 ; in c, BWV 981 Read more Sophie Yates (hpd) CHACONNE 0796 (76: 28)

Around 1714 Johann Sebastian Bach suddenly and apparently without provocation transcribed and adapted a number of Italian instrumental concertos, mainly by Antonio Vivaldi, for the keyboard. Why he did so is subject to some speculation, though it is often suggested that he had become aware of the publication a couple of years earlier in Amsterdam of Vivaldi’s op. 3 L’estro armonico , possibly through the efforts of his patron, Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar. While it is true that his main duties in Weimar at the time were mainly as an organist, he also provided a host of other musical services, including secular concerts, for which these transcriptions were probably most adaptable. Moreover, they offered him the opportunity to absorb thoroughly the popular Italian style.

Clearly, a simple transcription would not suffice for the sort of work that Bach envisioned, and moreover there are inevitable difficulties in arranging the various orchestral ritornellos, though of course the unison openings offered an immediate solution. His arrangements often transpose the works to fit the keyboard compass better. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the version of Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto, now transposed up a whole step to D Minor, or in the C-Minor Concerto by his brother Benedetto, which was originally in E Minor. The result is to bring the works into a more intimate and manageable focus, even though they do not lose their often virtuoso lines. The result is somewhat of a tour de force that has intrigued keyboardists (mainly harpsichordists) for a long time. Moreover, the art of the transcription reaches pretty much its apex here, for one cannot deny that Bach has essentially turned these concertos into brand-new works, in essence deconstructing and recomposing already well-known and acknowledged significant pieces, thus giving them an alternative life.

The complexities of these transcriptions have induced a number of extremely fine recordings, such as the 2009 rendition by Olivier Baumont on Apex, the same year as Peter Watchorn also produced his versions on Hänssler and around the same time as Huguette Dreyfus released hers on Denon, just to name a few. One might wonder whether the market would support yet another rendition, but harpsichordist Sophie Yates certainly provides excellent competition. Her style tends to be quite robust, but on occasion, such as the slow movement of the G-Minor Concerto, the upper line seems to float almost magically above the steady marching bass, lending the whole a song-like beauty. In the fast movements, such as the brilliant opening of the F-Major Concerto, she performs with a power and precision that reinforces the force of the original ritornellos, contrasting some of the phrases by changing registration and keyboards (the works being done on a dual manual instrument). If I am not entirely prepared to favor this recording over others, I am certainly willing to place it on an equal level of performance. I find her interpretations both interesting and sensitive, and her playing is, to my ears, faultless. In short, this is a recording that is excellent and would be a fine addition, whether one collects all of the myriad renditions of these transcriptions or whether one is looking for an example of Bach’s fertile and facile imagination when recomposing the works of his contemporaries. Highly recommended.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto in G minor after Vivaldi, BWV 975 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
2.
Concerto in G major after Vivaldi, BWV 980 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
3.
Concerto in G major after Vivaldi, BWV 973 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
4.
Concerto in F major after Vivaldi, BWV 978 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
5.
Concerto in D minor after Alessandro Marcello, BWV 974 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
6.
Concerto in D major after Vivaldi, BWV 972 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
7.
Concerto in C minor after Benedetto Marcello, BWV 981 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
8.
Concerto in C major after Vivaldi, BWV 976 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Sophie Yates (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 

Sound Samples

Keyboard Concerto in D major, BWV 972 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D major, RV 230): I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in D major, BWV 972 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D major, RV 230): II. Larghetto
Keyboard Concerto in D major, BWV 972 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D major, RV 230): III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in G major, BWV 973 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G major, RV 299): I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in G major, BWV 973 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G major, RV 299): II. Largo
Keyboard Concerto in G major, BWV 973 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G major, RV 299): III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 974 (after A. Marcello's Oboe Concerto): I. [Andante]
Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 974 (after A. Marcello's Oboe Concerto): II. Adagio
Keyboard Concerto in D minor, BWV 974 (after A. Marcello's Oboe Concerto): III. Presto
Keyboard Concerto in G minor, BWV 975 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 316): I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in G minor, BWV 975 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 316): II. Largo
Keyboard Concerto in G minor, BWV 975 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 316): III. Gigue: Presto
Keyboard Concerto in C major, BWV 976 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E major, RV 265): I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in C major, BWV 976 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E major, RV 265): II. Largo
Keyboard Concerto in C major, BWV 976 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E major, RV 265): III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in F major, BWV 978 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G major, RV 310): I. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in F major, BWV 978 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G major, RV 310): II. Largo
Keyboard Concerto in F major, BWV 978 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G major, RV 310): III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in G major, BWV 980 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 381): I. [Allegro]
Keyboard Concerto in G major, BWV 980 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 381): II. Largo
Keyboard Concerto in G major, BWV 980 (arr. of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in B flat major, RV 381): III. Allegro
Keyboard Concerto in C minor, BWV 981 (arr. of B. Marcello's Concerto, Op. 1, No. 2): I. Adagio
Keyboard Concerto in C minor, BWV 981 (arr. of B. Marcello's Concerto, Op. 1, No. 2): II. Vivace
Keyboard Concerto in C minor, BWV 981 (arr. of B. Marcello's Concerto, Op. 1, No. 2): III. [Adagio]
Keyboard Concerto in C minor, BWV 981 (arr. of B. Marcello's Concerto, Op. 1, No. 2): IV. Prestissimo

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Very Dynamic and beautifully played August 9, 2014 By David B. (Morro Bay, CA) See All My Reviews "I heard these before in another transcription but not for harpsichord. These are quite dynamic in there recording and quite beautifully played. Only Bach could reinterpret Vivaldi with such imagination. This is non stopped great listening. ." Report Abuse
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