Prinz Johann Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar: Concerti

Thüringer Bach Collegium
audite 97.769

These pieces are perhaps best known for the fact that some of them were transcribed for keyboard by J. S. Bach, and were known to Telemann. The prince did not enjoy a full life; born in 1696, he died aged only 18 in Frankfurt in 1715. Three years later, Telemann published Six Concerts for violin, which are recorded here in a seemingly random order. Additionally, the leader of the band has reconstructed a double-violin concerto from one of Bach’s arrangements (featuring some rather bizarre octave passages for violin and viola which I don’t think a composer of this calibre would ever have sanctioned!), and there are two concertos from the University Library in Rostock (where one was formerly attributed to Vivaldi), and a spurious trumpet concerto whose provenance is not even discussed in Michael Maul’s typically comprehensive booklet note. A previously recording by Ensemble Fürstenmusik with Anne Schumann left Bach’s arrangements as they were, which gave their recital more aural variety, which might have been to the present release’s advantage; the Thüringer Bach Collegium make a lovely sound, and the audite engineers have done a typically marvellous job of capturing the sound. The recording is dedicated to the memory of a Prince of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, patron of the group, who sadly died before the recording was realised. A touching tribute nonetheless.

Brian Clark

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