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Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Written By: Betsy Schwarm. See Article History. Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
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The employment of motivic interplay offers certain inherent contrasts of its own. These include shifts from one high or low range to another within a texture of interwoven melodies: rhythmic conflicts based on patterns that do not necessarily coincide with the….
The Brandenburg Concertos were finished by March 24, ; in the sixth concerto—so it has been suggested—Bach bore in mind the technical limitations of the prince, who played the gamba. History at your fingertips. The nine upper strings serve as both concertino soloists and ripieno accompanists , fluidly transitioning between roles throughout the piece. The piece opens with a confident figure that is manipulated and passed around between the different instrumental sections, each of which works together as a group. The movement is in ritornello form, a common baroque structure in which a recurring musical passage generally played by the entire ensemble alternates with more soloistic episodes in which the musical material is developed and tossed back and forth between the performers.
The second movement of the concerto is something of an enigma. Did Bach intend for the performers simply to play these two chords and then move on to the third movement? Or did he intend for one or more of them to improvise a cadenza elaborating on the transition?
Musicologists and performers have expressed varying opinions regarding this question. In any event, the third movement bursts out of this second chord with a sudden rush of energy. In another exhibition of ritornello form, the three groups of instruments race through an ebullient Allegro which brings the work to a joyous close. Enjoy our concerts? Join our email list for up-to-date concert information, first dibs at sales, and special events. Season Buy Tickets Subscriptions Call Indeed the opening movement employs the ritornello form of the modern Vivaldi concerto, and it contains several textural contrasts which give the illusion of solo-tutti forces.
Another interesting device is the canonic writing for violas at the outset, something which provides an extremely dramatic atmosphere that characterizes the entire movement. The second movement is essentially a sonata trio, an example of the close relation between concerto and sonata genres.
While the da capo form of the final movement originated in the aria genre and the gigue-like idiom came from the dance, the elaborated repetitions of the opening phrases relate to some of the oldest instrumental idioms in which the players traditionally provided elaborated divisions over a given melody.
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But here again Bach mixes the conventions: the violas da gamba, traditionally associated with the performance of divisions, have comparatively simple parts, while the most virtuosic writing is assigned to those most shy of stringed instruments, the violas. The choice of string instrument used to play the continuo line other than violoncello is less free: Specific indications regarding the nature of the bass line and its range lowest note almost always result in an obvious solution.
Our scheme regarding the realizing instruments—those used to play chordal harmonizations above and along with the bass line—for these performances is as follows:. Katherine Kyme Johann Gottlob Pfretzfehner, Carlo Antonio Testore, Milan, Anonymous, France, circa Michael Eagan Reid Galbraith; after J. Hoffmann circa Denner, private collection of Hans Ulrich Staeps, 18th-century. David Coomber, Utrecht, ; copy of J. Denner, Musikhistorisk Museum Copenhagen, Bressan, London, circa Rod Cameron, California, ; after Cahusac, England, John Abberger H.
Stephen Hammer H. Vas Dias, Georgia, ; after T. Stanesby Sr.
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The American Bach Soloists gratefully acknowledge Dr. Paul Ogden and Dr. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos. CD ONE. Concerto No. Adagio Concerto No. Allegro Concerto No. Menuet Concerto No.