Wednesday Bach Blogging: Bart Jacobs & Les Muffatti, Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052

    Bart Jacobs at the organ, accompanied by the Brussels Baroque Orchestra, Les Muffatti, under the direction of Peter Van Heyghen, performing Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052.  This performance of the first, Allegro, movement was recorded in 2013, at the Brussels Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium.

The audio level is low, as is the light exposure on the video, and at first it seems like there's something wrong, but there isn't.  If you have a larger display, go to full screen mode, and if you also happen to have some good speakers there on your desk, or if you have headphones, then turn those way up.  And what happens is, as the volume of the orchestra goes up, so does the ambient sound of the big space they're playing in, and you can actually hear the huge natural reverberation of the cathedral.  At the same time, once you get used to the low light levels, then it's almost like being there in the audience, inside that big dimly lit room, listening to an inspired performance by a very tight and fluid musical ensemble, of one of J. S. Bach's most compelling, powerful, and dark pieces.

There is no evidence that Bach ever performed this harpsichord concerto, composed c. 1734, as a piece for organ and string ensemble, but as Kapellmeister of Leipzig's St. Thomas Church, with its famously majestic pipe organ, as well as being himself a virtuoso organist, he did have the ability to do so.  And it's nice to think that he may have, at least once.

We could have wished for the rest of the concerto, especially the moody and even darker second, Adagio, movement, but it's great that Les Muffatti posted this gem of a video.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Concerto in D minor for Organ and Strings (arr. Bart Jacobs after BWV 1052 & BWV 146) - 1. Allegro

Bart Jacobs, organ

Peter Van Heyghen, direction

Ensemble Les Muffatti:
Violins I : Birgit Goris, Marie Haag, Catherine Meeùs
Violins II : Benedicte Verbeek, Ann Cnop, Laurent Hulsbosch
Violas : Manuela Bucher, Julie Vermeulen
Violoncellos : Marian Minnen, Corentin Dellicour
Double Bass : Benoît Vanden Bemden

Live recording - July 9th 2013 at Brussels Cathedral
Organ : Patrick Collon, 1977