Concentus Musicus Wien, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt directing from the cello, playing Johann Sebastian Bach's Double Concerto For Violin And Oboe, BWV 1060 in C minor. The soloists are Alice Hoffeiner Harnoncourt, violin, and Jurgen Scheftlein, oboe. First movement, Allegro, above.
Composed circa 1717 to 1720 when he was employed as a court composer for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Kothen, this piece was also transcribed by Bach as a concerto for two harpsichords. As a work in concerto, or concert form, meant to be listened to with no other purpose except enjoyment of the music for music's sake, we are reminded of how many other works of art were unable to be created by Bach, after he ended up with what was essentially a dead-end job as Kappelmeister of the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, a position he held from 1723 until his death in 1750.
Stuck with having to come up with new music for the church on a weekly basis, as well as conducting and training the choir and small orchestra there, Bach never again had the time, or the freedom, to write very many more lovely, melodic secular pieces such as this concerto. Cantatas, Masses, and Passions served an important purpose in the very much more religious times of the mid 18th century, and Bach diligently applied his genius composing them for the greater glorification of God, but something, maybe the 'fun factor', is missing from his music during his later life.
Not so with the Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe - there's a lot of intricate and interesting harmonic interplay going on here; in the slow second (adagio) movement, there is a particularly mesmerizing interwoven double melody shared between the oboe and violin - like a haunting, lyrical love ballad sandwiched in between a couple of up-tempo dance numbers. This is simply some of the finest music ever written by anybody at any time, every bit as enjoyable to listen to now as it must have been then, almost 300 years ago.
The second, Adagio, movement:
And the third movement, also Allegro: