Concerto for two harpsichords in C minor, BWV 1060

The concerto for two harpsichords in C minor, BWV 1060, is a concerto for two harpsichords and string orchestra by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is likely to have originated in the second half of the 1730s as an arrangement of an earlier concerto, also in C minor, for oboe and violin. That conjectural original version of the concerto, which may have been composed in Bach's Köthen years (1717–1723), is lost, but has been reconstructed in several versions known as BWV 1060R.

Title page of the 1886 volume of Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft, in which Woldemar Voigt argued that the model for Bach's concerto for two harpsichords in C minor, BWV 1060, would have been a lost concerto for oboe and violin.[1]



While the extant 18th-century manuscripts present the concerto in a form for two harpsichords and strings, the assumption that it originated as concerto for violin and oboe has become widely accepted since the late 19th century.[2][3][4] The precise date for this earlier concerto is unknown, but it is believed to have been in existence from the early 1720s.[5] The version for two harpsichords likely originated in or around 1736.[6] A broader estimate for the time of origin of the version for two harpsichords is 1735–1740.[7]


1. Allegro 2. Adagio 3. Allegro

The concerto is scored for two harpsichords (cembalo concertato I and II), two violin parts (violin I and II), viola and basso continuo.[4] The difference in texture and figuration of both solo instruments is clearest in the outer Allegro movements.[1][3] In these movements, the melody lines of the cembalo II part are generally more lyrical and less agile than those of the cembalo I part.[1][3] The Adagio middle movement, where the melody lines of both solo instruments imitate one another without distinction in texture and figuration, has been likened to the middle movement of Bach's double violin concerto, BWV 1043.[1][7][8]

Length: c. 14 minutes for the recording in § Reconstructed versions

First movement: Allegro


The theme with which the first Allegro movement opens is transformed in various ways, returning in its original form only at the end of the movement.[7][8]

Second movement: Adagio


The Adagio middle movement has a cantabile melody which is treated imitatively by both solo instruments, accompanied by the string orchestra.[7][8] 18th-century manuscripts contain two versions for the accompaniment: in one version the string instruments play with bows (arco), in the other pizzicato.[7][9]

Third movement: Allegro


The ritornello of the last movement has an up-tempo bourrée-like theme, on which also the episodes for the soloists are almost entirely based.[7][8]


First page of music examples in Forkel's 1802 biography of Johann Sebastian Bach: the incipit of BWV 1060 is Fig. 11 on this page.[10]

In his early 19th-century Bach biography, Johann Nikolaus Forkel described the concerto as "very old", with which he probably meant he found its style antiquated.[10][11][12] The concerto was published in 1848, edited by Friedrich Konrad Griepenkerl.[13][14]

In the 1874 preface to the Bach Gesellschaft edition of the concerto for two harpsichords, Wilhelm Rust had suggested that the original version of the concerto would have been for two violins.[1][15][16] In 1886 Woldemar Voigt wrote that the original instrument for the part of the second harpsichord was more likely an oboe, and that the original of the concerto could almost certainly be identified with a lost concerto for oboe and violin mentioned in a 1764 Breitkopf catalogue.[1][15][17][7]

Reconstructed versions


Max Schneider's reconstruction as a concerto for two violins in D minor was performed in 1920 at the Leipzig Bach Festival.[15] According to Max Seiffert it makes more sense to keep the same key as the keyboard version, that is C minor, when reconstructing the concerto for violin and oboe soloists.[15]

In his preface to the 1990 second edition of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV), Wolfgang Schmieder proposed to add a capital "R" to a BWV number to indicate a reconstructed version of a composition that is only extant in a later version, hence a reconstruction of a conjectured earlier version of the BWV 1060 concerto can be indicated as BWV 1060R.[2][18] Schmieder used the 1060R catalogue number for a reconstruction in C minor, for oboe and violin soloists, in the 1990 version of the BWV.[19]

Published reconstructions:

  • Seiffert, Max, ed. (1920). Konzert C moll für Violine und Oboe oder für zwei Violinen mit Klavierbegleitung von J. S. Bach. C. F. Peters. OCLC 760029773.
  • Schneider, Max [in German], ed. (1924). Joh. Seb. Bach: Konzert in D moll für Violine, Oboe oder für zwei Violinen und Streichorchester aus der Fassung für zwei Klaviere und Streichorchester C moll zurückübertragen. Breitkopf & Härtel. OCLC 22853563.
  • Fischer, Wilfried, ed. (1970). "Konzert für Oboe und Violine c-moll, Rekonstrunktion nach dem Konzert für 2 Cembali BWV 1060". Lost Solo Concertos in Reconstructions. Johann Sebastian Bach: New Edition of the Complete Works. Vol. Series VII: Orchestral Works, Vol. 7. Bärenreiter. ISMN 9790006462094.



On CD recordings, BWV 1060R is often combined with Bach's violin concertos BWV 1041–1043.[20]

Recordings of BWV 1060(R)
Yr. Sol. k Performers Issued
1950 ObVn c/R Tabuteau, Stern; Prades Festival Orchestra, Casals Sony SMK 58982
1956 2Pno c Appleton, Field; Castle Hill Festival Orchestra, Brief CMD 318[21]
1958 2Hps c Dart, Vaughan; Philomusica of London OL 50165[22]
1960 2Hps c Veyron-Lacroix, Beckensteiner; Orchestre de chambre J.-F. Paillard, Paillard Erato LDE3124[23]
1962 ObVn d/R Goossens, Menuhin; Bath Festival Orchestra, Menuhin EMI 2536642
1962 2Hps c Leonhardt, Müller [de]; Leonhardt Consort Teldec 6.35049
1963 ObVn d/R Shann [fr], Büchner [fr]; Münchener Bach-Orchester, Richter Archiv 198 321
2Hps c Richter, Bilgram; Münchener Bach-Orchester
1967 2Pno c Casadesus, R. & G.; Zurich Chamber Orchestra, de Stoutz CBS 61 140
1970 ObVn d/R Holliger, Grumiaux; New Philharmonia Orchestra, de Waart Philips 420 700-2
1982 ObVn c/R Killmer, Zukerman; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Zukerman CBS MK37278
1985 2Pno c Eschenbach, Frantz; Hamburger Philharmoniker DG 415 655-2
1985 ObVn c/R Boyd, Accardo; Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Accardo Philips 416 414-1
1988 ObVn d/R Black, Zimmermann; English Chamber Orchestra, Tate EMI CDC 7498622
1989 2Pno c/A Pekinel sisters; James CBS MK45579
1989 ObVn c/R Goodwin, Wallfisch; The King's Consort, King Hyperion CDH55347[24]
1992 2Hps c Schornsheim, Thalheim [de]; Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum, Glaetzner Brilliant 99360/7
1996 2Vn d/R Manze, Podger; Academy of Ancient Music HMU 907155
1998 2Pno c/A Pekinel sisters; Jacques Loussier Trio Teldec 8573-80823-2
2000 ObVn d/R Goritzki, Poppen; Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Rilling HC 92.131
2000 ObVn d/R Kreeft, Heberlin; Netherlands Bach Ensemble, Koetsveld Brilliant 99360/9
2000 ObVn d/R Mayer, Kennedy; Berliner Philharmoniker EMI 6290572
2003 2Pno c Pekinel sisters; Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Griffiths Warner 2564 61950-2
2004 ObVn c/R Löffler, Seiler; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Mai HMC 901876
2008 ObVn c/R Rubtsov, Fischer; Academy of St Martin in the Fields Decca 478 0650
2010 TrVn c/A Boldoczki, Baráti; Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra Sony 88697724182
2011 ObVn c/R Abberger, Lamon; Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Lamon AN 29878
2011 ObVn c/R Torunczyk, Kraemer [de]; Concerto Copenhagen, Mortensen cpo 777 904-2
2011 2Hps c Mortensen, Pinnock; Concerto Copenhagen cpo 777 681-2
2012 HpsVn c/A Dantone, Mullova; Accademia Bizantina Onyx 4114
2013 ObVn c/R Puskunigis, Venslovaitė; St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, Katkus [de] Brilliant 94991
2013 ObVn c/R Ruiz, Huggett; Portland Baroque Orchestra AV 2324
2014 ObVn c/R Leleux, Batiashvili; Kammerorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Szulc DG 479 2479
2014 ObVn c/R Bernardini, A. & C. [nl]; Dunedin Consort, Butt Hyperion CKD519[25]
2015 ObVn c/R Barocksolisten München, Seel HC 16006
2015 ObVn c/R Hamann, Zukerman; National Arts Centre Orchestra, Zukerman AN 28783
2017 2Hps c Hantaï, Häkkinen; Helsinki Baroque Orchestra AE-10087
2017 2Vn d/R Zimmermann, F. P. & S.; Berliner Barock Solisten HC 17046

The slow movement of Karl Richter's recording, with Hedwig Bilgram and the Münchener Bach-Orchester, also features in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975).[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Voigt 1886.
  2. ^ a b Butt 1999.
  3. ^ a b c Butt 2015, p. 5.
  4. ^ a b Work 01245 at Bach Digital website
  5. ^ Boyd 1993, p. p. 17.
  6. ^ Jones 2013, p. 256.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g King 1989, p. 5.
  8. ^ a b c d Butt 2015, p. 6.
  9. ^ Bach 1848, Griepenkerl's Vorrede/Préface.
  10. ^ a b Forkel 1802, p. 58.
  11. ^ Spitta 1899, p. 144.
  12. ^ Forkel 1920, p. 131.
  13. ^ Bach 1848.
  14. ^ Schneider 1907, p. 99.
  15. ^ a b c d Seiffert 1920.
  16. ^ Rust 1874, p. V.
  17. ^ Spitta 1899, p. 143.
  18. ^ Schmieder 1990, p. XXXV.
  19. ^ Schmieder 1990, pp. 771–772.
  20. ^ Clements 2015.
  21. ^ BnF 37819103d
  22. ^ BnF 38625599d
  23. ^ BnF 378738394
  24. ^ King 1989.
  25. ^ Butt 2015.
  26. ^ "II/6 Johann Sebastian Bach: Adagio from concerto for two harpsichords and orchestra in C-minor". Music from the soundtrack of Barry Lyndon (LP). Karl Richter, Hedwig Bilgram; Münchener Bach-Orchester. Warner Bros. 1975. K 56189.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)