There was great excitement in Weimar, when Prince Johann Ernst returned in 1713 from the Netherlands, where he spent a great deal of money getting lots of music copied and bound, including a collection of music by Benedetto Marcello. Bach arranged the string concerto no. 2 from this collection for keyboard, which he probably created to liven up the dinners at the Saxe-Weimar home. This Concerto in C minor BWV 981 is here performed by Olga Pashchenko for All of Bach.
But actually, it was no easy task to arrange the original. Marcello’s original concerto is much simpler than Bach’s arrangement – on paper at least. Melodies are ornamented, and sustained chords are filled out, so that a static keyboard can imitate the inherent movement of a stringed instrument.