First movement[ edit ] The harpsichord part in the first movement of BWV differs from the organ part in several ways in the solo passages: in the right hand the melody line became far more elaborate and ornamental; and in the left hand the figured bass line was replaced by a denser texture of fully worked out figures and chords—the left hand was "emancipated" in the words of Wolff At the same time in the orchestral parts, Bach reduced the contributions of the lower strings and adjusted the contributions from upper strings to create a proper balance with the harpsichord, with none of the string parts doubled except for the bass instruments. The lighter scoring permitted counterpoint between the first violin and the harpsichord in solo episodes. The movement combines the strict da capo A—B—A form of an aria with the ritornello structure of a concerto. Section A comprises 62 bars.
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Both start in the manner of Vivaldi with unison writing in the ritornello sections—the last movement begins as follows:   Bach then proceeds to juxtapose passages in the key of D minor with passages in A minor: in the first movement this concerns the first 27 bars; and in the last the first 41 bars.
These somewhat abrupt changes in tonality convey the spirit of a more ancient modal type of music. In both movements the A sections are fairly closely tied to the ritornello material which is interspersed with brief episodes for the harpsichord. The B section in the first movement starts with repeated note bariolage figures:   which, when they recur later, become increasingly virtuosic and eventually merge into brilliant filigree semidemiquaver figures—typical of the harpsichord—in the final extended cadenza-like episode before the concluding ritornello.
In the first movement the central section is in the keys of D minor and E minor; in the last movement the keys are D minor and A minor. As in the opening sections, the shifts between the two minor tonalities are sudden and pronounced.
In the first movement Bach creates another equally dramatic effect by interrupting the relentless minor-key passages with statements of the ritornello theme in major keys. Jones describes these moments of relief as providing "a sudden, unexpected shaft of light. More generally Jones has pointed out that the predominant keys in the outer movements centre around the open strings of the violin.
Its first publication in print was in by the Kistner Publishing House. In a letter to Mendelssohn, he disclosed that he intended the woodwind section to have the "same position in the Concerto as the organ in the performance of a Mass.
The Musical World reported that Moscheles "elicited such unequivocal testimonies of delight, as the quiet circle of the Ancient Concert subscribers rarely indulge in.
Harpsichord Concerto in E major, BWV 1053
Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052