Author Topic: Bach Double Harpsichord Concerto - BWV 1061  (Read 4671 times)

Offline richidoo

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Bach Double Harpsichord Concerto - BWV 1061
« on: June 15, 2016, 07:37:01 PM »

I heard the 3rd movement of this piece on the radio when I was 19, it was the first classical music that grabbed my attention in a big way. The first time I thought of classical as something other than background music. I remember the exact place, the time, the weather, it was a very memorable moment. Wet winter late afternoon, low sun, blue sky, field of snow, long stone wall along the road, I remember screaming out loud as the harpsichord melodies built and climaxed and the orchestra came in behind the harpsichords. Just a single oval paper speaker in the dash of my VW.

All I caught from the DJ's description was double harpsichord concerto, trevor Pinnock. I thought that would be enough description, so I bought a CD with that title, but there are three double harpsichord concertos and what I bought was a different one. duh. I didn't know to look for another Bach double harpsichord concerto, I just thought it was gone.

But I always remembered that piece and the experience. In later years I thought maybe I remembered the experience as being so intense just because it was my first Bach, and I was young and high on music. I was thinking that maybe I've actually heard that piece 100 times again since then and it is just old news now.

Well today I finally heard it again, again on the radio. The same recording, the same sound, the same energy, and my same reaction. Now that I've heard it again, I'm sure I haven't heard it since the first time. I've heard a lot of great classical music since then so it was less of a visceral reaction and easier to comprehend than before, but I felt the same waves of energy when the orchestra comes in after the harpsichord solos. I was grateful to finally discover it again but I felt a little sad too, that such a long time passed without hearing it. I thought of topround's advice, "Life without Bach would be a mistake." So true!

I told my daughter riding with me in the car while this was playing that this recording is what got me into classical music when I was 19. She said "wow," as if that really meant something. Maybe she was just amazed that I am so old. But without telling her the whole story she seemed to grasp the importance of it to me.

That original experience in 1984 put the word Bach into my thick skull, and opened my mind that classical might be worth checking out. A year later a friend gave me an LP of Gould Well tempered Clavier 1. Then a girlfriend / WKCR DJ played 2 and 3 part inventions, and soon I was hooked. I've had a lot of other Bach in my life since then but it was great to feel the original bomb go off again.

It was recorded digitally in 1981, a couple years before I heard it. Probably recorded with a 14 bit Sony F1 digital recorder as typical of that time. It's been issued on a lot of box sets over the years. I ordered it on Amazon used from Germany. Can't wait to dig into it! 

I played it on youtube tonight and my wife walked by asking what is that, it's so beautiful!? I told her it was the first Bach I ever heard and got me into classical music. A couple years after I first heard it and was telling her about Bach she said to me "I'm so glad your into classical music." Of course she doesn't remember any of that, but I'm blessed/cursed with steel trap memory.

We heard Trevor Pinnock play a Bach single harpsichord concerto with NC Symphony live about 5 years ago, with a harpsichord on stage and small chamber group of a dozen or so sitting around him. He is very animated, very lively, like a cartoon character. Infectiously happy, and entertaining. His playing penetrates deeply.