Only two and a half years separate Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Georg Pisendel. The former has gone down in music history as one of the foremost Baroque composers. The other, one of the leading German violin virtuosos in his day, is now largely unknown. Yet as concertmaster of the famous Dresden court orchestra, he left his mark on the musical scene there for decades. The position of concertmaster at that time corresponds to that of a chief conductor today. The two composers met in Weimar in their early twenties. A friendship like that between Pisendel and Georg Philipp Telemann did not develop, but Pisendel held Bach in high esteem throughout his life.
Pisendel’s compositions for the violin are by their very nature influenced by his work as a violinist. This is also true of his Violin Concerto in G minor, which is characterised by a variety of virtuoso ornamentation in the solo part and tremendous playfulness in the fast movements.
Almost all of Bach’s harpsichord concertos are arrangements he made of his violin and oboe concertos. The double concerto for oboe and violin performed today, on the other hand, has only been preserved in an arrangement by Bach for two harpsichords, so it has taken the opposite route and is heard today as a reconstruction. In the secular cantata “Non sa che sia dolore”, the flute not only plays a major role in the introductory Sinfonia, but is also obbligato to the soprano in the first aria “Parti pur e con dolore”. In the church cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen”, Bach places his compositional art entirely at the service of praise to God. Soprano and trumpet radiate jubilant splendour, while the polyphonic constructions of the chorale and the fugal Alleluia demonstrate an artistry appropriate to the cantata’s addressee.