Johann Sebastian Bach

Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056

    Description by David Kent

    Like Johann Sebastian Bach's better known Concerto in D minor, this work is thought to be a transcription of a lost concerto. While some scholars have attributed the violin composition to Vivaldi or to a minor German composer, the counterpoint and structure of the clavier seem indicative of Bach's idiom. Written during Bach's Cöthen period, the concerto is in three movements; all three are in ritornello form, in which each movement is based upon a single theme restated in various orchestrations at the opening, the closing, and after each exploratory section.

    The first movement, an Allegro, has hints of the form that would later be described as a sonata-rondo. It begins with a tutti exposition of a 14-bar ritornello, characterized by a firmly stated bass figure and a recurring sixteenth note triplet in the upper voice. Even in the solo episodes, the bass figure from the ritornello is frequently restated. Once the ritornello is introduced, the soloist elaborates on the triplet figure with light accompaniment. After the tutti restates the ritornello in A flat, the soloist embarks upon a sonata-like development, firmly rooted in the tonic, to build up momentum. Midway through this section, the tutti briefly suggests the ritornello, then gives way to the soloist for a full 24 bars of triplet figures. In the equivalent of a sonata's recapitulation, the ritornello and the soloist's triplets are restated, finally concluding in a compressed eight-bar ritornello. The main sense of contrast in the first movement is conveyed not by variation of keys or of a primary and secondary theme, but by the distinction between the soloist's triplets and the orchestra's sturdy ritornello.

    The slow movement, in the relative major of A flat, begins with a lengthy and elaborate 21-bar arabesque, lightly accompanied by a sparse bass figure of eighth notes. The frequent and extensive ornamentation in the melody make this movement somewhat rococo in character. The F minor finale is a vigorous, flowing movement in triple time that gives it an air of constant motion. The ritornello is 24 bars in length and can be divided into two distinct parts. In the first section, a scalar passage of sixteenth notes is traded between the upper and lower voices against a more triadic accompaniment of eighth notes. The second section consists of a series of contrary and parallel scale passages, leading to a firmly declared cadence. The soloist next develops the ritornello, without introducing any substantially new material. After the ritornello is restated in A flat, there is an episode based on a figure of descending trills. Included in this passage is a curious passage in which crashing chords -- alternating between the tutti and the soloist -- build up tension which is finally released in a decisive C major cadence. The soloist recapitulates the first main solo in C, but there is no definitive restatement of the ritornello as a whole until the final recapitulation at the close of the concerto.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro moderato
    2. Largo (Arioso)
    3. Presto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Alpha ALPHA 446
    2018 Doremi Records DHR 80634
    2018 Sony Classical 19075867552
    2018 Doremi / Doremi Records DHR 80568
    2017 Berlin Classics 0300764 BC
    2017 Erato 559521
    2017 Erato 0190295888466
    2017 Naïve OP 30567
    2017 Ars Produktion ARS 38223
    2017 Supraphon SU 42222
    2017 Rubicon / Rubicon Classics RCD 1006
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95303BR
    2016 MSR Classics MS 1496
    2015 Divine Art DDA 25128
    2015 Hyperion CDA 68068
    2015 Somerset 63266
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMC 90218182
    2014 Decca B002180802
    2014 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT 351
    2014 Genuin GEN 14323
    2014 Archive / Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Telarc
    2014 Telarc TEL 3531902
    2013 Warner Classics 540884
    2013 Warner Classics 2564636869
    2013 Apex 2564651916
    2013 Gall (formerly Gallo) / Gallo CD 1405
    2013 Grand Piano GP 641
    2013 Delos DE 1043
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94421
    2012 Newton Classics 8802186
    2012 Warner Classics
    2012 Sony Classical 88725412802
    2012 IDIS 6643
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Sony Classical 88725423932
    2011 Cascavelle 3153
    2011 Decca
    2011 Decca 4782956
    2011 Sony Classical 8869781742
    2011 Sony Classical 7727282
    2011 Archiv Produktion
    2011 Archiv Produktion 4779510
    2011 Alpha / Alpha Productions 811
    2011 Alpha Productions 168
    2011 Decca
    2011 Nimbus NI 6141
    2011 Erato
    2011 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099907091322
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 003
    2011 Alpha Productions ALPHA 889
    2011 Newton Classics 8802086
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Documents / Membran 232868
    2011 Sony Classical 88697742912
    2011 Masterworks / Sony Classical 88697824292
    2010 Avie 2207
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca 4782363
    2010 Decca
    2010 EMI / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945749
    2010 EMI / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945750
    2010 Nimbus 2541/2
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4803341
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 88697527002
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Dal Segno 042
    2009 Telarc Distribution
    2009 Telarc Distribution 80745
    2009 Virgin Classics 5099921306
    2009 Plectra Music 20901
    2009 Documents Classics 232729
    2008 Arts Music 47729
    2008 Landscape Classics / Zebralution
    2008 Virgin Veritas
    2008 Erato / Virgin 5099952200
    2008 Decca 4759355
    2008 Decca 4780069
    2008 Berlin Classics 0184252
    2008 Virgin / Virgin Classics 3793472
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 714802
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 703622
    2008 Decca / Universal Distribution 1223
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 714817
    2008 Blue Griffin Recording 161
    2008 Cembal d'amour 133
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946383765
    2007 Analekta 29915
    2007 Elatus
    2007 CPO 777248
    2007 EMI Classics 00948
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    2007 Apex
    2007 Dal Segno 032
    2007 Columbia Masterworks / Sony BMG 88697147532
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946381482
    2007 Telarc Distribution / Telarc Jazz 2CD 83671
    2007 Berlin Classics 0149252BC
    2007 Doremi Records 7872
    2007 Resonance CDRSN3087
    2006 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946374378
    2006 ISBA ISBCD5110
    2006 EMI Music Distribution
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Hyperion CDA67607/8
    2006 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 41426
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Virgin Classics 338158
    2005 Tomato 2150
    2005 Novalis 150726
    2005 EMI
    2005 Hyperion CDA67308
    2005 Hyperion SACDA67308
    2005 Berlin Classics 0011142
    2005 Sony Classical Essential Classics 518509
    2005 CD Accord 127
    2005 Union Square Music 023
    2005 Platinum Entertainment 3393
    2004 Delta Distribution 40028
    2004 Elatus 4603292
    2004 Brilliant Classics 92391
    2004 Sony Classical 93089
    2004 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1709
    2004 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1711
    2004 Berlin Classics 0013432BC
    2003 Cascavelle 3061
    2003 Pearl 202
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Madacy / Madacy Latino 6395
    2003 Vanguard 1249
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 87890
    2003 Delta Distribution 40040
    2003 Delta Distribution 16312
    2003 Decca 000018002
    2002 Harmonia Mundi HMU90 7283/4
    2002 Vox 3608
    2002 Archiv Produktion 471754
    2002 Sony Classical 87760
    2002 Sony Classical Essential Classics 87760
    2002 Sony Classical 89690
    2002 High Definition Classics 086
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    2002 Angel Records 57227B
    2002 NM Classics 97016
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    2001 Teldec 81219
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    2001 Virgin 45095
    2001 St. Clair 7323
    2001 Music & Arts CD1080/6
    2000 Vox 8848
    2000 Erato 28102
    2000 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1838
    2000 Naxos 8508005
    2000 Archiv Produktion 463 725-2AB5
    2000 Naxos 8 554604
    2000 Haenssler 92128
    2000 Philips 4681242
    2000 Signum UK 8400
    2000 Amadis 7173
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 60278
    2000 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1731
    2000 Angel Records 73641
    2000 Cembal d'amour 112
    2000 Lifestyles LIF 315013
    2000 VAI Audio 1192-2
    2000 Chandos 0530
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25717-2
    1999 Platinum Entertainment 2009
    1999 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1438
    1999 Intersound 1756
    1999 Philips 456766
    1999 Sony Classical 64226
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 1980
    1999 Meridian Records 84405
    1998 Erato 23842
    1998 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 12602
    1998 Decca 4600312
    1998 ABT Records / Advanced Brain Technologies 0105
    1997 Seraphim UK 69717
    1997 Erato 0630161662
    1997 L'Oiseau-Lyre 448178
    1997 Philips 456 377-2PB9
    1996 Centaur Records 2497
    1996 Carlton 670069
    1996 Chandos 0595
    1996 MusicMasters 67143
    1996 MDG 3090681
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    1996 Pearl 9235
    1995 Infinity Digital 61992
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    1995 EMI Music Distribution 65332
    1995 Vanguard 2523
    1995 London 443847
    1994 Sony Classical 58982
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 65173
    1994 Infinity Digital 57720
    1994 Novalis 150034
    1994 Naxos 550423
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    1993 Erato 91930
    1993 CBC Records 5065
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    1992 Vox 3018
    1992 Sony Classical 52591
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    1992 Sony Classical 52694
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    1990 London 425676
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    1989 EMI Music Distribution 763039-2
    1987 EMI Classics 47856
    1986 Archiv Produktion 415992
    1984 CBS Records 39022
    Brilliant 93102-VOL1
    Brilliant 99701
    Start 19
    Erato
    Classic Concert 01
    As Disc 626
    Teldec 74779
    Novalis 150088
    Forlane 16537
    Forlane 16535
    Concord 42028
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77290
    IMP Classics 864
    Supraphon 110673
    Brilliant 99701/7
    Brilliant 93102/7
    Brilliant / Brilliant Classics 935787
    ART 003669
    Erato 45644
    Erato
    Laserlight 14835
    Erato 92864
    Prism Leisure 1225
    CBS Records 45616
    RCA 60718
    Brilliant 92391/5
    Elysium 717
    Circle
    Archiv Produktion 413634
    Rob Digital 0058
    Musical Heritage Society 5290582
    Music & Arts 668
    Russian Compact Disc (RCD) 16321
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 126
    Musical Heritage Society 1410084
    Nineteen-Eight
    Archiv Produktion 000303002
    Concord 42029
    BBC Music Magazine BBWN95D
    Archiv Produktion 112
    EMI Music Distribution 094635705928