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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Concerti à Cembalo concertato Vol.2

Aapo Häkkinen

Helsinki Baroque Orchestra

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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Harpsichord concerto D major [BWV 1054]
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Harpsichord concerto A major [BWV 1055]
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Harpsichord concerto F major [BWV 1057]
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Fantasia C minor [BWV 906]
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) Concerto for solo harpsichord G major [Fk 40]
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Helsinki Baroque Orchestra (Baroque orchestra)
Aapo Häkkinen, Harpsichord
Playing time: 1:2 (h:m)
Booklet: 28p., English German French
Order Nr. AE 10067
EAN 4026798100674
Product category: SACD
Release date: 01/10/2013
  • play_circle_outline BWV 1054 (1)
  • play_circle_outline BWV 1054 (2)
  • play_circle_outline BWV 1057
  • play_circle_outline W.F.Bach Concerto

Aapo Häkkinen concludes the cycle of concertos for solo harpsichord and strings. Like in volume 1, he plays a 16’ harpsichord.

That is to say, an instrument with an additional, very low sounding register. Although Bach probably used a similar harpsichord himself, this is the first recording of this cycle of works on an instrument of this kind built in a historical manner! Häkkinen, harpsichordist and director of the ensemble, convinces not only by means of this sonority, but also though his musical powers of imagination and the precision of his articulation.
The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra plays one on a part, and is obliged to the best Baroque traditions. This time the CD contains as a “solo encore,” so to speak, the Fantasia BWV 906 as well as a Concerto for harpsichord solo by Bach’s son Wilhelm Friedemann.

€ 18,99 (including tax)
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This 'Hybrid' Super Audio CD plays on all CD players and SACD players.

CD Audio: Stereo

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Reviews on “Bach: Concerti à Cembalo concertato Vol.2”


Early Music Review Brian Clark, 156 - Oct 2013 :

“Of course I have listened to previous recordings, but this is the first that has inspired me enough to listen again.”

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Gramophone Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, 11/2013 :

“Häkkinen's sprightly and easy style is remarkably refreshing and unmannered - full of sinewy joyfulness.”

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AE-10067_Gramophone_11_2013.jpg 198.82 kB John Miller, September 10, 2013 :

“Wonderful music, wonderful playing. Treat yourself to both volumes.”
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I have been waiting expectantly for Häkkinen's completion of Bach's set of Six Harpsichord Concertos (BWV 1052-1057). The remaining three, Concerto III in D major, IV in A major and VI in F major are in this volume. Häkkinen again employs a one-to-a-part set of musicians from the period-instrument Helsinki Baroque Orchestra. They are following musicologist/composer Richard Maunder's intensive research which confirmed that most Baroque orchestral music was written for single part strings with a basso continuo, although extra forces could be added for special occasions. The continuo on this Volume is a cello and a positive organ, compared with the violone and chest organ used in Volume 1.

Concerto III is better known as the Concerto for Violin in E major BWV, here masterfully arrayed in new tone colours. Its opening Allegro joyfully bustles, flows and lilts, while the Adagio has soulful conversational exchanges between the harpsichord's long-breathed solo, with weeping falls tenderly produced by the strings. The pepper-and-salt tang of the harpsichord both blends with and compliments the strings delightfully, showing what amazing expertise Bach possessed as re-arranger.

Concerto IV in A is not so well-known, probably transcribed from a lost concerto for oboe d'amore or viola d'amore, perhaps with a different slow movement. This piece reflects the somewhat deeper toned original instruments, beautifully expressed by Häkkinen's harpsichord, a replica of a two manual Hass original with a 16' register. As Häkkinen tells us, it is likely that Bach had such an instrument at hand for his Collegium Musicum concerts.

Most listeners will immediately spot that Concerto VI is derived from Brandenburg Concerto IV in G. Bach retains the two recorders (here in F) and the harpsichord takes the original violin part but amplifies it into a brilliantly virtuosic keyboard display, the recorders bubbling away with their spirited tune. Häkkinen takes the opportunity to use both 16' and 8' registers on his Hass replica, adding weight and colour to the performance.
Two not insubstantial works round off this disc. Bach's flamboyant Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906 appears in an MS from the Court Library in Dresden, reflecting the composer's quite lengthy stay there, and it is a remarkable piece, pushing the harpsichord to its limits. Its dramatic opening is full of fire and could be a precursor of Chopin's Revolutionary Study, both in its downward sweeping arpeggios and gruff, turbulent exploitation of the 16' lower registers. Häkkinen's realisation of this piece is so gripping that I would have bought the disc for it alone.

Wilhelm Friedman Bach went to Leipzig University about the same time that his father became the conductor and director of the University's Collegium Musicum, and would have played in many of its concerts. He learned from his father that a solo harpsichord could play a concerto all on its own, and here is one of his efforts, the fine solo harpsichord Concerto in G, Fk 40. WFB puts forward a hefty, proud opening tune for his Allegro, a pure two-part arioso for his slow movement, deftly ornamented, with a lively and memorable vivace to end. His style is audibly moving towards the homophonic galant fashion and is less contrapuntal than his father's.

Häkkinen's engineers have rightly given us the chamber perspective required by the ensemble's small size, the harpsichord sounding inside the band (literally, as shown on a session photograph) and not in anyway spotlighted as if for a concerto of much later date. There is plenty of sound from the rear surrounds; the Finnish church ambience is clearly present but not over-reverberant, giving an intimate listening experience in 5.0. Listeners playing at "realistic" volume will hear the sound of the blower of the Positiv Organ, not present in the two solo tracks. Aeolus package the volume in a 3-gate plastic/cardboard fold-out, with a captive booklet (in English and German). Häkkinen himself provides the excellent notes, exploring on various historical aspects and informing us that he has researched extensively to find the MSS with the latest alterations in Bach's hand.

The level of communication from all players and their affection for this music is very high, and brings out the pure joy that Bach expressed when at the top of his composing talent. This 2 disc set would certainly be my choice for a period performance, enhanced by the doughty presence of the Hass replica harpsichord with a full 16' soundboard, which is rarely (or never) found in existing recordings of the concertos.

Wonderful music, wonderful playing. Treat yourself to both volumes.

Copyright © 2013 John Miller and

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AE-10067_SACD_NET.png 213.94 kB Florian Schreiner, 11.01.2014 :

“Auch Vol. 2 begeistert durch ein kammermusikalisch feines Musizieren, das von der exquisiten Klangtechnik detailgenau vermittelt wird. (...) Ein Hochgenuss.”
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Zweiter Streich

Auch Vol. 2 der Einspielung Bachscher Cembalokonzerte mit Aapo Häkkinen und dem Helsinki Baroque Orchestra begeistert durch ein kammermusikalisch feines Musizieren, das von der exquisiten Klangtechnik detailgenau vermittelt wird.

Die erste Folge der Einspielung von Johann Sebastian Bachs Cembalokonzerten mit Aapo Häkkinen und dem Helsinki Baroque Orchestra hat einen überaus positiven Eindruck hinterlassen. Vol. 2 bestätigt dies nun, mehr noch: Die Folgeeinspielung ist musikalisch und in Bezug auf den Ensembleklang noch ausgereifter und lässt den zweiten Streich somit zu einem Hochgenuss werden.

Die bereits im ersten Teil positiv hervorgetretenen Qualitäten zeigen sich auch hier. Da ist zum einen das gewählte Soloinstrument, ein Cembalo mit 16-Fuß-Register, wie es im mitteldeutschen Raum der Bach-Zeit eingesetzt wurde. Vor dem finnischen Cembalisten und Ensembleleiter Aapo Häkkinen wurde ein solches Instrument meines Wissens als Soloinstrument für Einspielungen der Bachschen Cembalokonzerte noch nicht eingesetzt. Neben dem mit jeweils einem Spieler (bzw. einer Spielerin) besetzten Streicherkorpus des Helsinki Baroque Orchestra ist die Ensembledisposition dadurch charakterisiert, dass als tiefstes Streichinstrument ein Cello zum Einsatz kommt, nicht aber ein Violone; als Continuo-Instrument fungiert ein Orgel-Positiv. Diese Klanggrundlage, die sich sich in der bloßen Beschreibung vielleicht etwas dünn ausnimmt, wird von den Musikern allerdings lebendig, griffig und – auch in der Balance der Stimmen – fein nuanciert gestaltet und von der famosen Klangtechnik in dynamischen Feinheiten und artikulatorischen Details minutiös vermittelt.

Wie auch Vol. 1 stellt Aapo Häkkinen neben die Konzerte für Cembalo und Orchester solistische Werke, in diesem Fall Johann Sebastian Bachs Fantasia c-Moll BWV 906, deren brodelnde Klangwucht durch die Besonderheiten des Cembalos wunderbar unterstützt wird, was zu einem gewaltigen Klangeindruck führt, sowie Wilhelm Friedemann Bachs Concerto in G-Dur (Fk 40) für Cembalo solo, in dem Aapo Häkkinen virtuos glänzt und die rauschende bis prasselnde, bis in tiefste Tiefen führende Klangentfaltung expressiv gestaltet.

Von den Bachschen Cembalokonzerten sind komplementär zur ersten Folge hier die Konzerte D-Dur BWV 1054, A-Dur BWV 1055 und F-Dur BWV 1057 (mit zwei zu den Streichen hinzutretenden Blockflöten) vertreten. Auch hier ist der Solist klanglich ins Ensemble relativ stark eingebunden, weil die solistische Gestaltung der Streicher Freiräume für Einzelstimmen schafft, die dann mit solistisch konturenscharfer Phrasierung modelliert werden und somit an Feinzeichnung und Selbständigkeit der Führung dem Solisten kaum nachstehen. Das führt zu einem im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen Aufnahmen mit größerer Instrumentalbesetzung zu dem Eindruck einer viel kammermusikalischeren, flexibleren Formung. Stets begegnet das Ensemble der Musik mit lebhafter affektiver Zeichnung, dabei ohne verhetzte Rasanz frische Tempi mit zielführender Phrasierung verbindend.

Einen vergleichsweise großen Unterschied gibt es allerdings zur ersten Folge: Während dort die Streicher mitunter zu einer etwas aggressiven Tongebung neigten, ist hier der Klang bei gleicher Beredtheit der musikalischen Zeichnung insgesamt etwas fließender und weicher. Das tut dem Ergebnis unbedingt gut und lässt diese zweite Folge der verdienstvollen Serie noch einige Nasenlängen vor der ersten über den Zielstrich jagen. Von exquisiter Qualität ist neben dem Klang der hybriden SACD zudem das mehrsprachige Beiheft, das über Instrumentenwahl, Stücke und Interpret hinreichend informiert.

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Early Music Review :

Of course I have listened to previous recordings, but this is the first that has inspired me enough to listen again.

Gramophone :

Häkkinen's sprightly and easy style is remarkably refreshing and unmannered - full of sinewy joyfulness. :

Wonderful music, wonderful playing. Treat yourself to both volumes. :

Auch Vol. 2 begeistert durch ein kammermusikalisch feines Musizieren, das von der exquisiten Klangtechnik detailgenau vermittelt wird. (...) Ein Hochgenuss.

More from this series: "Bach Harpsichord Concertos"