J.S. Bach – Harpsichord Concertos I, II, III


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Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor - Allegro
Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor - Adagio
Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor - Allegro
Harpsichord Concerto in E Major - No tempo markings
Harpsichord Concerto in E Major - Siciliano
Harpsichord Concerto in E Major - Allegro
Harpsichord Concerto in D Major - No tempo markings
Harpsichord Concerto in D Major - Adagio e piano sempre
Harpsichord Concerto in D Major - Allegro


Musical works of genius are sometimes approached as museum exhibits, and the controversies concerning interpretative freedom can even be more fierce than Scheibe’s famous polemic with Bach’s advocate Birnbaum. Full of respect for the Composer’s artistic ideas as I am, I try to understand his music in the context of a time when improvisation was universally practised. The wealth, complexity and refinement of the notation make this task more difficult, but important clues are provided by the study of versions that usually differ in these very aspects, namely – texture and ornamentation. I made up my mind to look for my own embellishments, especially in those sections that are repeated da capo, but also in the brief cadenzas. My partners in this project adopted a similar stance. We believe that this approach is closer to the Composer’s own intention than a literal reading of the score. It provides for a fuller understanding of the music and for a greater freedom of expression.  
– Marcin Świątkiewicz, harpsichord

Additional information


Analog to digital converter

DSD Super Audio / Horus

Mastering equiment

Mastering engineer

Jared Sacks


Jared Sacks


Van den Hul

Mixing console

Rens Heijnis, custom design


Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps

Recording notes

Our partner for this release is Katowice, UNESCO Creative City of Music.We are grateful to Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, General and Programme Director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, for permission to record our album at the NOSPR’s headquarters and to use the institution’s harpsichords.</p>

Recording format


Recording date

September 15-17, 2017


Recording location

NOSPR, Katowice, Poland

Recording engineer

Jared Sacks


Jared Sacks


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Grimm LS1

Press reviews

Classics Today

(…) There’s the individual, tasteful but never over-the-top embellishment. The tempos are on the fast side—the slow movements especially bubble and sparkle at a crisp clip. The full sound of the five players belies the small ensemble. (…)

Audiophile Audition 6.25 out of 5

(…) what makes this recording truly shine: the very real commitment Swiatkiewicz has made at improvisation (the effect is even taken up by the strings as well). To my memory, I can’t think of any recording of the Bach harpsichord concertos that have included such a florid rendering of music from the score. Sure, it’s easy to add an ornament here or there, but this is something altogether different. (…)


Charlotte Gardner
“First impressions aren’t of a lean chamber sound at all: its crispness comes so very
glowingly warm and full-textured. Yet you can also hear every musician – good news
when the ensemble is topped by Il Pomo d’Oro concertmaster Zefira Valova and
underpinned by Tomasz Pokrzywi?ski, Arte dei Suonatori and Holland Baroque’s
principal cellist – and there’s no question that the sound’s strikingly light-footed,
flowing and liberated quality is the reward of gifting such a crack team of period
specialists complete autonomy over their individual parts “

Polityka (Polish Magazine)

This is a true musical partnership, derived entirely from the Baroque spirit. As the
soloist says, the idea was to show these works in their historical context, when
improvisation was a universal skill. His playing demonstrates it perfectly, exploding
with virtuosic cascades of sounds, full of freedom and sometimes also rhythmical.
The whole album, full of brilliance and positive energy, allows the new fresh look at
seemingly well-known pieces.

Klassieke Zaken

(…) Hij (Marcin Swiatkiewicz) weet de luisteraar compleet te overdonderen met zijn
krachtige dwingende spel (…) bovenaards goed spel (…)

Nederlands Dagblad

Roel Sikkema

(…) kleinschalige, heldere uitvoering (…) De vijf musici maken er prachtige muziek van. (…)

Opus Klassiek

Aart van der Wal

(…) Wat de uitvoering betreft hoeft – en zeker niet in deze bescheiden bezetting – niet naar andere uitgaven te worden omgezien, want deze staat als een huis. De techniek is volmaakt, de spiritualiteit laat de toehoorder geen moment in de steek, de tempi zijn goed gekozen (ook in de twee delen zonder tempoaanduiding), de plasticiteit en transparantie zijn boven iedere kritiek verheven. Het resultaat is – hoe kan het anders – uitgesproken muzikantesk en daarmee precies datgene wat deze bruisende concerten nodig hebben. (…)

De Gelderlander 6.25 out of 5

“This produces festive baroque music, dusted and sparkling like never before.”


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