The fourth Brandenburg Concerto is scored for violin, two flutes, strings, and continuo. If indeed recorders, rather than the transverse flute, then one might presume that the softer sound of the recorder is intended as a sort of echo — except for the fact that the flutes appear from the start of the Fourth Brandenburg, even without the solo violin, and while they occasionally double the solo violin, they are rarely used in an echo function. The flutes in fact play a prominent role, which might make one think this concerto has a solo group concertino , in the concerto grosso format, but the work is sometimes considered a solo concerto for violin, given the long passages for solo violin alone without the flutes and with the orchestral strings providing limited support. Or perhaps the Fourth Brandenburg is an amalgamation of the two distinct types of concertos. The Fourth Brandenburg Concerto is unique in that it is the only of the six in which all instruments are used in all movements.
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The fourth Brandenburg Concerto is scored for violin, two flutes, strings, and continuo. If indeed recorders, rather than the transverse flute, then one might presume that the softer sound of the recorder is intended as a sort of echo — except for the fact that the flutes appear from the start of the Fourth Brandenburg, even without the solo violin, and while they occasionally double the solo violin, they are rarely used in an echo function.
The flutes in fact play a prominent role, which might make one think this concerto has a solo group concertino , in the concerto grosso format, but the work is sometimes considered a solo concerto for violin, given the long passages for solo violin alone without the flutes and with the orchestral strings providing limited support.
Or perhaps the Fourth Brandenburg is an amalgamation of the two distinct types of concertos. The Fourth Brandenburg Concerto is unique in that it is the only of the six in which all instruments are used in all movements. In the other concertos, the middle movements have a reduced instrumentation.
The first movement Allegro uses both a ritornello structure as well as an ABA form, like we might expect in a da capo aria. Think of the other Brandenburg concertos, for example: the orchestral strings are in the forefront from measure one, regardless of which instruments are featured soloists.
In any event, the soloist or solo group never begins the concerto in a leading role. Or, perhaps Bach is simply trying something different with his concertino.
The orchestral strings help to keep the tempo by punctuating downbeats and cadences; in addition, they develop a secondary theme which emerges out of the ritornello. The repeated note figure appears frequently in the solo violin part as part of extended passage work, but also in fragments or sequences in the orchestral violins, as you can see from the example.
The sequential passages are an easy way for Bach to create the impression of the music accelerating towards a cadential goal, or to help propel the music into a new key.
This opening ritornello statement, which includes both musical excerpts shown above, is exceptionally long — more than eighty measures. This, too, is unusual, for it keeps the solo violin out of the musical forefront until we are nearly one-fifth of the way into the movement. During that time, the ritornello theme is heard three times: once in G major, once in D major dominant key , then back in G major. Although we expect an overall tonal progression of I-V-I in much music of the 17th and 18th centuries, this is the most obvious and longest move to the dominant key; there is another move to the dominant later in the movement, but it is neither as strong nor as long as this one.
The second movement is set in the relative minor key of e minor, and is sarabande-like according to Bach scholar Michael Marissen — moderately slow tempo, triple meter, with a tendency to accent the second beat of the measure. Meanwhile, the flutes really take the lead over the solo violin, with the first flute playing the most elaborate passages in this movement. The movement remains in the minor mode throughout, never hinting towards the relative major key of G heard in the outer movements.
The effect can be seen as more solemn than somber. Finally, we see the ripieno take the melodic lead:. Subscribe to our newsletter to get performance announcements, Choir news, and updates about recordings or Bach Choir touring. Splendid musicianship, rousing choruses, and the sublime voices of the soloists turned grief into joy and sorrow into triumph. What a thrill to hear those punchy, syncopated brass lines accompanying some really polished and vibrant singing.
There was a miraculous blend of tone and balance throughout. The effortless virtuosity and stylistic homogeneity of the combined forces in the chapel's stone sanctity, allowed Bach's music to sing out with infectious, exhilarating enthusiasm.
The Bachs [J. B and C. E] could not have been better served, not to mention two English Renaissances, as well as our own time. It went beyond mere intelligent programming and committed performance, enriched by a deep sense of the mutual nourishment of music and faith. If it has flaws, they are like those that distinguish a fine emerald from the perfect clarity of a fake The more than vocalists displayed clean tone, excellent pitch and blend, and kept good tempo even in the most stressful numbers…outstanding, energetic and crisp.
The orchestra was a collection of top freelancers from around the Eastern Seaboard including several from Washington… baritone Dashon Burton, was the standout. He has a clarion instrument that projects well throughout his range…a splendid dramatic performance. Greg Funfgeld has trained his singers to articulate words crisply, dance lightly when the music must move and blend elegantly.
Charles Daniels stands out as a poetic and powerful Evangelist, William Sharp as a warmly inflected Jesus and Julia Doyle as a shining champion of the soprano arias. The hauntingly beautiful voices of Taylor and Zsigovics—she in her festival debut—melted together like two precious metals, hers of bell-like clarity, his a more complex alchemy, with a sheen like liquid mercury.
The conductor, orchestra, soloists, and chorus are eminently capable of the nuances of the rich harmonic texts …spirited and vivacious…It is not likely to get any better than this on this side of the Atlantic. It also blends seamlessly with the excellent modern-instrument Festival orchestra which Greg Funfgeld conducts with an obvious knowledge of, and sensitivity to, modern performance practice.
The work of the soloists is excellent, too…Excitement, dedication, power—all things that we hear more and more seldom in Bach cantatas—lend distinction to this beautiful and well-produced recording.
Greg Funfgeld…has revitalized this Pennsylvania institution, and Dorian is doing well to document its vibrancy in a recording series… genuine honesty and intelligence informs this performance…Funfgeld has forged a fine body of singers and players…tightly disciplined ensemble …rousing spirit and sacred joy aplenty. This recording will not disappoint. The Bach Choir of Bethlehem gives him all he could have wanted.
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'Brandenburg' Concerto No. 4 in G major
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Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049
They are widely regarded    as some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. Bach wrote out the music himself for presentation to the Margrave rather than leaving it to a copyist. While he took the opportunity to revise the music, most likely, it was not freshly composed. Bach's dedication to the Margrave was dated 24 March Translated from the original French, the first sentence of Bach's dedication reads:. As I had the good fortune a few years ago to be heard by Your Royal Highness, at Your Highness's commands, and as I noticed then that Your Highness took some pleasure in the little talents which Heaven has given me for Music, and as in taking Leave of Your Royal Highness, Your Highness deigned to honour me with the command to send Your Highness some pieces of my Composition: I have in accordance with Your Highness's most gracious orders taken the liberty of rendering my most humble duty to Your Royal Highness with the present Concertos, which I have adapted to several instruments; begging Your Highness most humbly not to judge their imperfection with the rigor of that discriminating and sensitive taste, which everyone knows Him to have for musical works, but rather to take into benign Consideration the profound respect and the most humble obedience which I thus attempt to show Him.
Brandenburg Concerto No.4 in G major, BWV 1049 (Bach, Johann Sebastian)
How Bach deliberately obscures the traditional concerto form. In this concerto, Bach is continually misleading us. Which instruments are the real soloists? Initially, the lead is taken by the two recorders, but after the introductory refrain it appears that the violin is the soloist.