I first played this well-known piece in late 1978 as part of my audition for the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. That audition was played n the cello, and it was the piece that first showed me that music is a form of communication; since becoming a double bass player I have always wanted to return to it.
This piece comes from Bach's cantata 'Ich steh mit einem FuB in Grabe' ( I stand with a foot in the grave), BWV 156, in which it is the opening Sinfonia-- the title 'Arioso' is not Bach's. He also used a more ornate version of the music as the solo oboe accompanied by strings and organs.
The edition is based on the simpler version if the melody that appears in the cantata, but transposed from the original key of F major. Except for the instruction 'Adagio" (in the cantata) and 'Largo" ( in the concerto), there are no dynamic or expression marking in either work. The fingerings, bowings and other markings in this edition have been chosen as they are those that I believe best communicate the music's expressiveness.