With the Concerto in C minor for oboe and violin we have a work for which no original source exists. However, knowing that Bach wrote such a piece, and with a later concerto for two harpsichords (dating from around 1735–40) appearing on all the evidence to be a re-working of the missing work, it is possible to reconstruct with a fair degree of certainty the ‘lost’ concerto. All but one of the harpsichord concertos appear to be re-workings of earlier concertos, and from those which survive in both versions it is possible to gain a fairly accurate idea of how Bach set about re-working his earlier concertos. The C minor concerto for two harpsichords (BWV1060) is interesting in that the two solo instruments do not use identical melodic ranges: one compass fits that of the oboe exactly, and the differing melodic characteristics of the two solo parts again suggest an uneven pair of solo instruments. The splendidly characterful first movement is interesting for the ways in which the opening theme is transformed before it returns to its original form at the end. The slow movement, similar in many ways to that of the double violin concerto, and just as much a gem, has a cantabile theme which is treated imitatively by the two soloists, with a simple chordal accompaniment from the main body of strings. This accompaniment is often played pizzicato in the version for two harpsichords, but, with no original manuscript to which to turn, and taking into account the greater sustaining power of the violin and oboe, together with the central sustained chordal writing (which would have to be played ‘arco’ in any case), light bowing appears to be the most successful solution. The lively third movement takes a Bourrée-like theme for its ritornello, and the intervening solo episodes are based almost exclusively on that dancing theme.
from notes by Robert King © 1989