The Concerto No 2 in E major, BWV1053 is not often played, no doubt because of its complexity, especially in the tricky solo part. The first movement opens cheerfully and optimistically, but gets more complicated and daring as it progresses. The brilliance of E major is offset by a lovely dolce quality to much of the material. The second movement, marked Siciliano, is extremely daring in its harmonic progressions and written-out ornamentation in the solo part. Bach used these first two movements in the Cantata BWV169, Gott soll allein mein Herze haben
(‘God all alone my heart shall master’). Once more he surprises us by adding a line for solo voice along with the already florid keyboard part of the second movement (‘Stirb in mir, Welt’/‘Die in me, world’). In the closing Allegro, as in all of these works, the soloist doesn’t get a rest for a second, being busy elaborating on the themes and ultimately holding it all together. Bach also recycled this movement in the Cantata BWV49, Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen
(‘I go and search for thee with longing’), in which he scored it for organ and strings.
from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2005