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Many of Bach's keyboard concertos began musical life as violin concertos. As one example, the magnificent Concerto in D minor for Two Violins that Bach wrote in the early 1730s was arranged for two harpsichords a few years later. Now Diane Meredith Belcher has taken a cue from Bach's own concerto transcriptions and arranged the work for solo organ. The alternation of solo parts with full ensemble is easily captured on the organ, and the texture of the solos in this concerto - two melody lines above a bass line - duplicates the texture of Bach's Trio Sonatas for solo organ. Cast in the three movements, fast-slow-fast, that were just then becoming the concerto standard, Bach's Double Concerto is a miracle of contrapuntal invention and lyric grace, particularly in the richly reflective slow movement. In the finale Bach experiments in places with inverting the usual concerto texture, giving double-stopped chords to the two solo violins and the thematic development to the orchestral strings in unison.
- John Henken is Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.