Music for Pentecost 13 — Sunday, September 4 2022

Concerto in G Major (BWV 592,1) – J. S. Bach


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Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar (1696–1715), a talented musician and composer, was known to be an avid music collector who in 1713 introduced his teacher Johann Gottfried Walther as well as Johann Sebastian Bach to the concerti by Antonio Vivaldi. Both Bach and Walther transcribed different Italian concertos for Prince Johann Ernst’s instruction and enjoyment.

Through these keyboard transcriptions, Bach gained an intimate acquaintance with the Italian concerto style of Vivaldi and his contemporaries. This resulted in sixteen concerti for harpsichord and four organ concerti, drawing on the original orchestral versions by the Italian composers Vivaldi, Alessandro Marcello, Benedetto Marcello, and others. Some are transcriptions from anonymous sources, one by Bach’s contemporary Georg Philipp Teleman, and four from orchestral concertos by the young Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar himself.

This Sunday’s postlude in church is Bach’s transcription of a one of Prince Johann Ernst’s compositions: a now-lost violin concerto, composed when the prince was not even 19 years of age!

PJ Janson