BACH, J.S.: Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 (Camerata Cassovia/ Hae Won Chang/ Robert Stankovsky/ Rudolf Hentsel) (Naxos: 8.550422)
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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Piano (Clavier) Concerto No.1 in DMinor, BWV 1052
Piano (Clavier) Concerto No.2 in EMajor, BWV 1053
Piano (Clavier) Concerto No.3 in DMajor, BWV 1054
The career of Johann Sebastian Bach, the most illustrious of aprolific musical family, falls neatly into three unequal parts. Born in 1685 in Eisenach,from the age of ten Bach lived and studied music with his elder brother in Ohrdruf, afterthe death of both his parents. After a series of appointments as organist, he became, in1708, court organist and chamber musician to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, the elder ofthe two brothers who jointly ruled the duchy. In 1714 he was promoted to the position ofKonzertmeister to the Duke, but in 1717 left Weimar to become Court Kapellmeister toPrince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen, a position he held until 1723. From then until his deathin 1750 he lived in Leipzig, where he was Thomaskantor, with responsibility for the musicof the five principal city churches, in 1729 assuming direction of the universityCollegium Musicum.
At Weimar Bach had been principally employed as an organist,and his compositions of the period include a considerable amount written for theinstrument on which he was recognised as a virtuoso performer. At Cothen, where Pietisttraditions dominated the court, he had no church duties, and was responsible rather forcourt music. The period brought the composition of a number of instrumental works.
The final 27 years of Bach's life brought a variety ofpreoccupations, and while his official employment necessitated the provision of churchmusic, he was able to provide music for the university Collegium Musicum and to write orre-arrange a number of important works for the keyboard.
It seems almost too simple to suggest that Bach's concertosfall into three corresponding groups. Nevertheless at Weimar he arranged for soloharpsichord a number of concertos by Italian composers, as well as concertos by the youngprince Johann Ernst. At Cothen he wrote his violin concertos and the set he dedicated in1721 to the Margrave of Brandenburg. In Leipzig he arranged or composed a number ofconcertos for solo harpsichords, exploring a new form of concerto that was to assume thegreatest importance as the century progressed.
The University collegium musicum in Leipzig met on Fridayevenings at Gottfried Zimmermann's coffee-house or in summer in his garden outside thecity. Bach took over direction of the group in 1729 and seems to have continued in thatposition until as late as 1744. Compositions for the collegium musicum, which involvedstudents and professional musicians, presumably include the Coffee Cantata, and thevarious concertos for one or more harpsichords, with strings.
The Clavier Concerto in Dminor, BWV 1052, is believed to be based on an earlier violin concerto, asupposition supported by some of the figuration. Music from the concerto appeared in 1728as the introductory sinfonia to Cantata No.188, Ichhabe meine Zuversicht, and the first two movements, the second with an addedchoral part, were used about the same time for the Easter Cantata No.146, Wir m??ssen durch viel Tr??bsal. Theconcerto boasts an energetic first movement, a heart-felt G minor aria, over a repeatedbass pattern in the slow movement and a virtuoso final Allegro.
The second of Bach's Clavier Concertos, the Concerto in E major, BWV 1053, is generallysupposed to be derived from an earlier concerto for oboe. A brief introduction with thewhole orchestra is followed by the first of a number of solo passages for the keyboard.
The slow movement is a Siciliano, in origin a gentle pastoral dance, here embellished bythe soloist, who provides a busy initial accompaniment, leading to the openingcross-rhythms of the rapid last movement, with its recurrent refrain based on the risingnotes of the major triad.
The ClavierConcerto in D major, BWV 1054, is a re-arrangement of the E major Violin Concerto, BWV 1042, now transposeddown a tone and in other ways adapted to the new solo instrument. The vivid first movementopens with the three rising notes of the major triad, a pattern that recurs as the musicmakes its way through remoter keys. The slow movement is in the form of an aria, over aground bass, doubled by the keyboard instrument. The concerto ends with a rapidtriple-metre movement.
Chang Hae Won
Chang Hae Won was born in Korea in thecity of Seoul and started to play the piano at the age of six, completing her professionalstudies at Ewha University in Seoul in 1963. From 1964 until1968 she studied at theFrankfurt Musikhochschule with Professor Leopolder on a German government scholarship andwas awarded her diploma as a concert pianist. On her return to Korea she was appointedprofessor of piano at her old university.
In Korea Chang Hae Won won variousprizes, including first prize in the 1960 Korean National Piano Competition. Her career asa concert pianist began three years earlier, in 1957, when she played Beethoven's C minorPiano Concerto with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then she has enjoyed a busycareer as a teacher and as a performer in Korea, in other Asian countries, in America andin Europe, with annual concert tours and engagements at home and abroad. She has appearedas a soloist with major orchestras and in recitals with Ruggiero Ricci, Christian Ferras,Renata Tebaldi, Franco Corelli, Aaron Rosand, Andre Navarra and others. She has performedas a soloist at numerous music festivals, including the Paris Chateau de BreteuilFestival, the National Music Festival in Korea and the festival for the opening of theSejong Cultural Centre and of the Goethe-lnstitut in Seoul. She has served on the Viannada Motta Competition jury in Lisbon. In 1985 she was acclaimed by the Music Critics'Circle of Korea as Musician of the Year, and won high praise in the German press for hertechnical accomplishment and musicianship. Her recordings for Naxos and Marco Poloincluded piano works by Pierne, Scarlatti's sonatas, concertos by Hummel and other pianomusic.
The Camerata Cassovia is the chamberensemble of the CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra which is based in the Eastern Slovakiantown of Koice. The orchestra was founded in 1968 and has toured widely within Europeand the Far East.
Robert Stankovsky was born inBratislava, the capital of Slovakia, in 1964, and after a childhood spent in the study ofthe piano, recorder, oboe and clarinet, turned his attention, at the age of fourteen, toconducting, graduating in this and in piano at the Bratislava Conservatory with the titleof best graduate of the year. Stankovsky is regarded as one of the best conductors of theyounger generation in Czechoslovakia. For Marco Polo Stankovsky has recorded symphonies byRubinstein and Miaskovsky in addition to orchestral works by Dvorak and Smetana.