Baroque Solo Concertos

  • Created by: Emmi Bea
  • Created on: 21-06-18 20:57

Sonata in D for Trumpet and Strings: Henry Purcell

  •  It was published in 1694. The use of the trumpet would indicate a celebration of some sort (Purcell composed numerous Odes and Welcome Songs for Charles II and James II) and it follows a similar pattern to the twenty or so Sonatas in 3 and 4 parts for violins, bass viol and basso continuo.
  •  There are many characteristics of this piece which relate well to the concerto which superseded the sonata as the predominant form of instrumental work from 1680 onwards; namely, (a) three movements (fast - slow - fast) as opposed to the four movement structure of the Sonata da chiesa
  • The Baroque trumpet was a natural instrument with no valves. Most were pitched in the key of D (the celebratory tonality) and players had a set of crooks to insert into the tubing if another key was required. Purcell requires just ten different pitches, from nine different harmonics (the G and G# being ‘lipped’ from the same harmonic)
  • Most available recordings use a string orchestra of six or eight violins, two violas, one violoncello, double bass and harpsichord (or organ) as basso continuo, although it is possible to perform the work with much smaller forces.
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Purcell: 1st Movement: Pomposo A

  • The first movement is just 29 bars long with most performances lasting only about 75 seconds. It can be divided into three main sections: A bars 1 - 111, B bars 112 -19, C bars 20 - 29.
  • Section A: Section A is built entirely on motif a. The trumpet sets the fanfare-like mood of the movement from the start with this characteristic rhythmic pattern, emphasising the tonic and dominant notes and adding a distinctive upper auxiliary on the second semiquaver. Bars 4 - 6 repeat the material exactly, but for two essential differences; a) the violin takes the melody with the trumpet tacet and b) the melody is a fourth lower and, after the opening bar of tonic harmony, the music modulates to the dominant, A major.  The first three phrases are on the dominant chord, the fourth is back to the tonic and then bars 9 - 111 are a repeat of bars 2 - 41, albeit with one small change in the rhythm of the bass. This first section of the movement is therefore itself in a distinct ternary form.
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Purcell: 1st Movement: Pomposo B

  • After the lively and decisive rhythmical style of the opening section, the B Section lends itself to a more relaxed, lyrical and plaintive mood. Purcell achieves this contrast in the following ways:
  • a stepwise, instead of triadic, motif 
  • falling, instead of rising, melodic shapes 
  • regular quaver movement, without semiquavers 
  • B minor tonality (the relative minor) 
  • a more imitative and contrapuntal texture 
  • a quieter and more legato style (not marked in the score).
  • This B motif is played four times with the violin in close imitation of the trumpet, over a bass initially in parallel compound 6ths, then in compound parallel 10ths, the violin extending the final repetition into a perfect cadence in B minor, again with 4-3 suspension and anticipatory note.
  • As the trumpet reaches the top of its range, for the first time it shows its ability to sustain long-held notes over two cadential progressions in the dominant A major.
  • The C# in the A chord at the start of bar 19 equally abruptly restores the major tonality (it sounds initially like a tierce de Picardie), semiquaver movement reappears, the b motif is inverted in the violin leading to rising shapes.
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Purcell: 1st Movement: Pomposo C

  • The tonic is firmly re-established with root position D major chords in bar 20 (reminiscent of bar 1), the trumpet reasserts itself with the principal melodic line above the chordal texture, and the phrase shapes rise once again, outlining the tonic triad. Rather than simply reiterating motif a, Purcell opens with just the first three notes and then heads in a different direction with greater rhythmic movement and more passing notes.
  • Another antiphonal exchange follows between violin and bass in parallel 10ths and the trumpet using a variant of the first seven notes of motif c, this time rising in sequence through chords IV, IIb, V, IIIb, VI, IVb and Vb. At this point, halfway through bar 24, the trumpet changes tack and picks up the last four notes of motif b in inversion (so now as a rising pattern), and in rhythmic diminution, which is imitated twice by the strings before the trumpet embarks on a broad final descent back to the tonic with the violin in unison for the first time
  • This falling sequence of parallel first inversion chords is a typical baroque harmonic progression, using motif b in its original falling shape in quavers. The final perfect cadence is again decorated with a trill and 4-3 suspension, and the falling 7th which coincides with the anticipatory note creates a pair of consecutive fifths in the harmony - a rare example where this is musically valid. The whole of this 10 - bar C section is resolutely in D major.
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Purcell: 2nd Movement: Andante maestoso

  • The second movement provides a direct contrast.The trumpet is rested and the strings play in a homophonic texture, often in short gestures of just two or three notes, punctuated by rests, which conveys a thoughtful and melancholic sentiment, aided by the slow tempo, minor tonality and almost entirely conjunct melody.
  • The structure is binary form: • A (bars 1 - 4) • A’ (bars 5 - 73) • B (bars 74 - 143) • B’ (bars 144 - 20)
  • The first bar establishes B minor (the relative minor) with a I Vb I progression, under a repeated F# in the melody (the 3rd of the D major tonic chord which ended the first movement). The second bar explores this idea further as a stronger VI V I progression, the melody now rising three notes by step as the bass descends, extending the breadth of the texture. 
  • The phrases all begin with an anacrusis and the melody is entirely conjunct, starting and ending with falling tones, but descending by semitones throughout bars 10 - 133. As the melody falls, so the bass tends to rise, in contrary motion. Particular features to note are: • the sequence of appoggiaturas • the repeated Cs in bars 11 and 12, which extend the phrase to six bars • the unresolved 7th in bar 11 • Vb7 in F in bar 12 • the augmented triad in bar 13 (IIIb in Am).
  • It finishes by another tierce de Picardie to switch from D minor to the final D major chord, 
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3rd Movement: Allegro ma non troppo

  • Although at 80 bars this appears to be the longest of the three movements, its brisk tempo and metre result in performances which last less than one and a half minutes.
  • Features of a Gigue: • fast tempo • 3/8 metre (one-in-a-bar), with occasional hemiolas • D major key is typical of folk music (use of open strings), with little modulation • easily memorable, conjunct melody • imitative texture • binary structure, with the theme inverted in the second half • 32 - bar sections. The texture is fugal in character and for the first time in the work, the 2nd violins and violas get an opportunity to share some of the principal melody writing. The absence of any significant modulation allows the trumpet full access to all the musical material.
  • Bars 64 – 80 (Codetta) The fanfare figure of repeating chords returns, this time with the trumpet joining in with the same material in antiphony with the strings, first rising and then falling through the notes of the tonic triad. This is the only passage in the whole work where the trumpet plays bottom D and F#, adding an extra authority to these final moments. After 11 bars of tonic harmony the cadence figure from bar 32 returns, repeated with the same phrase by the trumpet, and two more tonic chords for the curtsey to bring the dance to a close. 
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Flute Concerto in D OP.10 No.3, Il Gardellino - A

(published in 1728)

  •  The baroque flute was made from boxwood, the instrument was made from three sections, with a conical bore, and tuned in the key of D. There were no keys (except perhaps for one at the bottom to play low Eb), and chromatic notes were achieved through cross-fingerings.
  • The Baroque flute has a characteristically pure and gentle tone, although the notes out of the natural key of D tended to have a distinctively different timbre and, as with the trumpet of this period, accurate intonation always required particular skill on the part of the player.
  • Different types of articulation were the principal means of achieving variety in emphasis and phrasing. 
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Vivaldi: 1st Movement Allegro (1)

  • Opening ritornello (bars 1 - 131): The principal characteristics of the movement are concisely displayed at the outset in the string parts: • lively dotted rhythms • D E D E melodic shape - motif a • sudden leaps of tessitura • four repeated Ds - motif b • texture in parallel octaves • tonic and dominant harmonies. Unusually (for the opening of a concerto) the strings provide the melodic material, and the solo flute accompanies on the third and fourth beats of each bar, providing the harmonic outline of I - V - I - V (imperfect cadence).
  • 1st episode (bars 13 – 20) An unaccompanied flute solo, played freely as if a cadenza.
  • 2nd ritornello (bars 21 - 263) This is a truncated (half-length) version of the opening, taking the first four bars and the last two bars, and omitting the trills.
  • 2nd episode (bars 263 - 472) The soloist sets off again unaccompanied, developing material from the first episode - the last four pitches of the rising D major scale, interpolated with three notes of motif b, then the demisemiquaver ascent of the whole scale and the familiar octave leaps in a dotted rhythm.
  • 3rd ritornello (bars 473 - 52)  similar to the previous one, being just five-and-a-half bars in length (albeit now starting half way through the bar), and using exactly the same material in truncated form. Differences: the key is now B minor • the flute plays in octaves above the violins, creating an entirely octave texture • the harmony now follows a I - V - V - I pattern in the first four bars.
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Vivaldi: 1st Movement Allegro (2)

  • 3rd episode (bars 53 – 95) This third solo section is over twice the length of the previous episode, which itself was considerably longer than the first, cadenza-like, one. The episode begins with development of the music heard in the second episode at bar 32. The flute embarks on a rising sequence of motif b, ascending by semitonal steps in a chromatic scale, whilst the violins use a variant of the violas' bass line from the same bar. End - Just as one might expect the full orchestra to embark on the final ritornello, the soloist strings the music out for three more bars of decorative patterns based on motif b and the leaping octave before eventually the ritornello reappears at bar 96.
  • Final ritornello (bars 96 – 100) After the long and discursive episode, this return of the opening material is succinct and declamatory. Motif a appears just once in its dotted rhythm form, immediately followed by its varied version, and then the three descending scales to finish. This is an exact repeat of bars 93 - 12 and, with the whole bar of tonic at the end, creates in total a five bar section, the shortest ritornello of all.
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Vivaldi: 2nd Movement Cantabile (1)

  • The structure is rounded binary form, the opening section (bars 1 - 6) modulating from the tonic (D major) to the dominant (A major), and the second section (bars 7 - 13) modulating back via the supertonic minor (E minor) to the tonic. Each section is repeated, typically with elaborate decoration in both the flute and continuo parts. There is a pleasing symmetry to the two sections: A 3 bars cadencing in D, followed by 3 bars cadencing in A B 2 bars cadencing in Em, 2 bars cadencing in D, ‘rounded off’ by 3 bars in D. 
  • Melody • A section characterised by leaps on the strong beats (rising 5ths and 4ths, falling octaves and 7ths) • B section almost entirely conjunct, until the rising 4ths and falling octaves in the final three bars • Upper auxiliaries, passing notes and echappee notes • Sequences • Irregular phrase structure • Range of a minor 9th (octave + lower leading note)
  • Rhythm • Repeated rhythmic pattern in bass throughout • Placing of the dotted rhythm on the down beats of the first four bars in section A, and again on the down beats of bars 7 - 11 in section B, but on the weak beats in the last two bars of each section • Syncopations • Varied harmonic rhythm - a full bar of I (bar 1) and Vb7 (bar 4), but moving more frequently towards cadences, and at a faster rate in section B
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Vivaldi: 2nd Movement Cantabile (2)

  • Harmony • Diatonic throughout, except for the two diminished 7ths in bars 7 and 9 which act as dominant minor 9ths in first inversion • Consonant, excepting the diminished 7ths, Vb7 (bar 4), IIb7 (bars 5, 8 and 10) and II7 on the third beat of bar 12 • Six perfect cadences (bars 3, 6, 8, 10 and 13) and a quasi-interrupted progression in bar 2 • Cadential 6/4 progressions in bars 3, 5, 6 and 13 • Two bar sequence in bars 7 - 8 and 9 - 10 • Inverted tonic pedal from bar 11 beat 3 to bar 13 beat 1
  • Texture • Melody with chordal accompaniment, the melody and bass polarised, extending to four octaves apart in the final bar. • The bass frequently moves in contrary motion to the melody, expanding apart as phrases begin, and then closing back together at cadence points. • The falling bass line which characterises the openings of both sections is extended to full octave scale in bars 11 and 12 underneath the decorated inverted pedal in the flute.
  • The last three bars of the movement show Vivaldi’s creative imagination at play. Instead of simply repeating the opening three bars, he takes the beginning of the first phrase (x), and the end of the second phrase (y), extending it as an inverted tonic pedal (*) with the added delight of syncopated rhythms, whilst the bass extends its original descent into a full octave to reach the point of maximum separation at the start of the final bar, a satisfying resolution of the dissonant II7 in the previous bar.
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Vivaldi: 3rd Movement Allegro (1)

  • Opening ritornello (bars 1 – 15) The ritornello theme is characterised by a decisive tonic, separated by a quaver rest from a scalic descent in semiquavers (motif a) and followed by a rising triadic figure in quavers (motif b) - all in a parallel octave texture in the strings. This assertive statement is played five times: bar 1 four-bar phrase tonic to dominant bar 5 four-bar phrase tonic to dominant bar 9 three-bar phrase dominant to tonic bar 12 two-bar phrase tonic bar 14 two-bar phrase tonic Between each statement, the flute and first violins respond antiphonally with a little rising three note idea (motif c).
  • 1st episode (bars 16 – 39) In the first movement of the concerto, the solo flute had the first episode entirely to itself, and subsequently mostly worked an independent path through the succeeding episodes. The instrumental scoring here is a fresh one, with the first violins joining the flute in a trio sonata - type polarised texture, moving closely together (largely in parallel 3rds) and high above the bass part. The material is a modified version of motif c, rhythmically augmented and with the emphasis (highlighted by the dotted rhythms, trills and double appoggiatura) firmly on the second beats of the bar - a pattern more typical of the slowermoving Sarabanda. Other features of this passage include:  distinctive articulation  crossing over of flute and 1st violin parts  feminine perfect cadence in bar 19  echo effect of the pp repetition of the phrase.
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Vivaldi: 3rd Movement Allegro (2)

  • 2nd ritornello (bars 40 – 58)  The principal melodic characteristics remain, but the little turn around at the end of the opening scale (motif d from the first episode) is significant as the triadic ascent in bars 41 - 42 becomes vertiginous, and the dominant repeat appears earlier in only the third bar. A new idea of repeated chords (the melody ‘borrowed’ from bar 24 - which was itself an extension of motif b from the first movement) acts as the preparation for a descending sequence of 7 - 6 suspensions, the suspended 7ths in the solo flute part decorated firstly with a turn and then motif d twice. After four repetitions of the two-bar sequential phrase, the dominant 7th is reached in bar 53 and then the ritornello theme is repeated twice more, once in A major and then on the dominant, the triadic pattern in the second bar each time reduced to mere repetitions of a falling 3rd. The 2nd ritornello section therefore has its own ternary structure, finishing with the now familiar 4 - 3 suspension and trill emphasising the 2nd beat of the bar.
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Vivaldi: 3rd Movement Allegro (3)

  • 2nd episode (bars 59 – 88) The harmony progresses as follows: bar(s) bass note chord 67/68 A I
  • 69 C# Ib
  • 70 D IV
  • 71 D# Vb7 of V
  • 72 E V
  • 73 E# Vb7 of VI
  • 74 F# VI
  • 75 F# IVb
  • 76/77 G# Vb7
  • 78 A I - The final part of this episode (starting at bar 79) starts by reprising the material from the beginning (bar 59), settling on a sustained tonic in the bass (tasto solo indicating that the keyboard player should not add upper harmonies at this point). The other melodic ideas are also redistributed in the texture, the violins now playing the broken chord figures in parallel whilst the flute trills its descent through each step of the A major arpeggio. As it lands on the low tonic, the violins fall silent and a six-bar modulatory passage takes the tonality towards B minor via a diminished 7th chord in bar 84. The now customary 4 - 3 suspension under a trill on the 2nd beat of bar 88 marks the end of the episode.
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Vivaldi: 3rd Movement Allegro (4)

  • 3rd ritornello (bars 89 – 93) The characteristics of this ritornello include: • relative minor key • only 5 bars long • motif b altered to bare 5ths and only one bar long • 4 - 3 cadence without a trill • final bar takes the tonality back to D major.
  • 3rd episode (bars 94 – 111) This final episode develops many of the melodic patterns from the previous episodes, reaffirming the soloist’s dominance as the principal voice and firmly restoring the home key. The first 8 bars are effectively a repeat of bars 24 - 31 (the central section of the first episode) following the D - G - E - A chord sequence, but the violin trills now more subdued as sustained crotchets and the flute melody subtly changed. The tied notes, dotted rhythms and rising 4ths moving into a rapid alternation of semiquavers are, of course, very reminiscent of the goldfinch song heard at the start of the first movement (bars 13 - 15).
  • 4th ritornello (bars 112 – 117) This is the final statement of the ritornello theme, in its original version and key, the II - V - I cadential figure repeated in angular melodic form in a strongly declamatory ff.
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Violin Concerto in A minor (BMV 1041) John Sebasti

  • This Violin Concerto in A minor was probably written during his time as Kapellmeister to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Cothen between 1717 and 1723, although as the earliest evidence of the work comes from a set of parts Bach himself copied out in 1730 it may come from a later period when he was working in Leipzig as Cantor at St. Thomas’ Church.
  • Baroque Violins • Shorter neck and fingerboard, so a smaller range up to 6th position • Strings made of cat gut, less brilliant sound • Shorter, curved bows with less tension in the hair • Little vibrato, lighter phrasing Modern Violins • Longer neck and fingerboard, bigger pitch range • Metal strings, stronger tone • Longer, straight bows, more robust sound and better sustaining power of longer notes • Some vibrato, leading to a more colourful and varied sound
  • The Concerto follows the typically Italian model, as inherited from Vivaldi and others, of three movements: (i) Allegro (ii) Andante (iii) Allegro assai
  • The first movement is in Ritornello form: Ritornello (bars 1 - 24) First Episode (bars 25 - 51) Ritornello (bars 52 - 84) Second Episode (bars 85 - 142) Ritornello (bars 143 - 171) 
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Bach: First ritornello

  • The ritornello has an immediately appealing and memorable opening. An anacrustic two-note rising 4th motif accompanied by the upper strings, outlining the tonic chord of A minor, is imitated with a rising octave by the bass*. This antiphonal texture is a taste of the more complex contrapuntal textures to come later in the movement. The whole pattern is then repeated in the second bar with smaller minor 2nd interval in the melody, and then at the third hearing the motif develops into a falling sequence of semiquavers, the two violin parts moving in parallel thirds. The melody has fallen an octave, from top A to lower A, through the course of the four bars, contrasting with the rising octaves in the bass at the beginning.
  • A cycle of fifths in bars 8 to 12 underpins the descending harmonic sequence, as the tonality begins to move towards the dominant E minor. Bach cleverly extends this ritornello section with two interruptions to the expected perfect cadence. Firstly, in bars 17 – 18 the Ic - V progression (with cadential trills) is followed by a diminished 7th chord, and then the IIb - V progression two bars later is turned into an interrupted cadence before all the parts hurtle downwards to a perfect cadence at the third attempt in bar 24, and the first structural resting point of the movement. One final surprise, a tierce de Picardie on the final chord prepares nicely for a return to the tonic, A minor, at the start of the first episode.  
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Bach: First episode

  • As the texture thins towards a typically Baroque polarised melody and bass (and Bach adds a cautionary piano dynamic for the ripieno), the soloist takes a first opportunity to shine, creating a decorative melody which quickly rises to the highest note of the movement so far. The melody is based on the rising 4th and y motifs from the ritornello, and the antiphonal accompaniment patterns the rising 4th imitatively and motif x.
  • The tonality stays firmly rooted to the tonic A minor, notwithstanding another cycle of fifths in bars 32 – 37 suggesting brief nuances of C and then F majors, before a strong reminder of the opening four bars of the ritornello in bars 40 – 43 with its perfect cadence in A minor. All the while, the soloist has been describing long runs of semiquavers in sequential patterns, often using the descending scale first heard in bar 7.
  • A second idea is introduced at bar 44, a rhythmically syncopated shape which is, melodically, a development of motif x. This time it has a different character, more buoyant and skittish, and markedly contrasting with the steady repeated quavers in the chordal accompaniment. The second bar of the phrase is a simple arpeggio figure with a cheeky reference to motif y, the lower auxiliary note D# helping to confirm the harmonic progression to E minor. 
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Bach: Second ritornello + Second Episode

  • Three main features in comparison with the first ritornello: i) it starts in C major ii) it is seven bars longer iii) the soloist takes 4 bars to realise it has started!
  • The second episode is considerably longer (58 bars) than the first episode (27 bars) and takes the music through a much broader spectrum of tonalities with bolder harmonic progressions and more interplay between the soloist and ripieno. It begins with exactly the same material (for four bars) as the first episode, but a 4th lower in the key of E minor.
  • The passage above is the first occasion in this movement where the first violins in the ripieno have a sustained melodic role in counterpoint to the soloist. It creates a typically Baroque three-part polarised texture with two closely entwined lines high above the bass. The soloist articulates motif y in a different part of the bar, creating an exciting cross-rhythmical effect with the accent on the second quaver of the bar.
  • Throughout this, the first violins of the ripieno have their own countermelody, a strong line which starts above the soloist, dives down to its lowest note (bottom G), before soaring back over the solo part. Second violins and violas play in unison, providing inner harmonies. 
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Bach: Third ritornello

  • The final ritornello eventually returns for real at bar 143, although once again, Bach cleverly conceals the entrance with the soloist dovetailing its lively passagework until the end of the fourth bar. From bar 1462 the ritornello takes an identical path to the music of the second ritornello (starting at bar 592) for the final 25 bars of the movement, except that it is a fifth lower in C major and A minor rather than G major and E minor.
  • Note the small alterations of details in the passage from bars 154 to 157 which take the violins into a higher tessitura for the last part of the movement, the top E in bar 166 being the highest note of all. 
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Bach: 2nd movement andante (1)

  • The rhythmic ostinato pattern provides a structural basis in 2 and 4 bar units which link the sections and also dovetail in and out of the soloist’s 4 and 6 bar phrases. The stability of the repeating pedal notes contrasts with the frequent leaps of melody, and the measured tread of the bass rhythm likewise contrasts with the free-flowing triplet and tied-note rhythms in the violin melody. Rhythmic interest is further achieved in the melodic lines through subtleties of agogic accentuation and cross-phrasing. The orchestra-only passages are all forte, the solo passages piano.
  • Opening ostinato pattern: Important features to note include:  a tonic pedal in bars 1 - 2  a secondary dominant strengthening the move to chord IV in bar 1 matched by……  a modulation to the dominant in bars 3 - 4  the tension of suspensions and other dissonances on most strong beats  the rising stepwise shape of the bass pattern on the weak beats matched by…..  the wide leaps downwards on to the strong beats.
  • Two contrasting melodies feature in the structure: Melody A and Melody B
  • Features of the melody and harmony include:  suspensions disguised as the solo part weaves about the chordal texture  chromatic chords and substitution chords borrowed from the opposite mode
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Bach: 2nd movement andante (2)

  • False relations The expressive appoggiaturas and accented passing notes in the melody are heightened by chromaticisms - the resolution (on to a diminished 7th harmony) of the (sharply dissonant) suspension at the start of bar 36 being achieved through the upward leap of a minor 7th (octave displacement of a falling passing note), creating a particularly telling false relation.
  • An introductory solo matches the opening 4 bars with its tonic pedal (now in the viola), secondary dominant to chord IV followed by a move to chord V (imperfect cadence). The melody in the first bar repeats a scalic descent, the repeat featuring the only lombardic rhythm of the movement, with the second bar previewing the final bar of melody B.
  • To balance this structure, the last four bars of the movement act as a kind of codetta. The rhythmic ostinato is repeated for the final time in the tonic, the upper string parts now in a higher tessitura than at the start of the movement, and the soloist now leaves behind the intricate rhythmic patterns and unusual melodic turns to glide peacefully upwards in diatonic scalic patterns in regular triplets
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Bach: 3rd movement allegro assai (1)

  • The final movement, back in the tonic key of A minor, is a rollickingly spirited Gigue in 9/8 time, perhaps Bach’s most energetic and effervescent movement in a minor key.The dance-like characteristics are established from the start, not only by the triple-time metre, but also by the running quavers of the main subject, the repeated ♪ rhythms in the countersubject and the regular four-bar phrasing at the start of the opening ritornello. The fugal texture of the ritornello adds to the sense of this movement being a fast and furious galloping hunt, the sparser scoring of the solo sections being balanced by the increased vitality of the semiquaver movement and leaps of tessitura in the violin part
  • Opening ritornello (bars 1 – 5) The opening ritornello follows the structure of a fugal exposition in four voices: 1. Solo violin and first violins in unison 2. Second violins 3. Violas 4. Violoncellos, double basses and continuo The subject The countersubject The answer.
  • Melody The subject uses three distinct patterns, each of three quavers:  x falling scale (also in sequence, and in inversion - x’)  y featuring a lower auxiliary note  z rising triad. 
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Bach: 3rd movement allegro assai (2)

  • Unlike a normal fugal opening, the subject and countersubject are announced together above a supporting bass line. The three threads of the counterpoint are immediately distinguished by their own place in the tessitura and the rhythmic hierarchy. When the answer arrives in bar 5, the four parts are separated further (the bass descends a 4th and the first violins rise above the stave) to allow its entry a clear space in the texture, but very quickly the violas’ free part weaves above and below this line. As the answer is now underneath the countersubject, this is an example of invertible counterpoint at work. The texture becomes even more exciting and aurally challenging once the basses join in with the subject at bar 9. Crossings of parts becomes more adventurous with the second violins first swooping above the first violins and then diving below the violas and there is even a moment in bar 18 when the violas are at the very top of the texture. The x and y motifs frequently appear in parallel 3rds and 6ths, and their compounds.
  • Harmony - The first three bars firmly establish the A minor key, using only chords I and V. Bach enhances the lightly dancing character of the music by using Vb and the higher tonic on the strong beats, and indeed the absence of any harmony on the very first down beat. The harmonic rhythm is largely one harmony per bar until bar 4 when it moves faster into the modulation to the dominant - achieved through VIIb rather than V7 for a lighter touch. 
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Bach: 3rd movement allegro assai (2)

  • 1st episode (bars 25 – 42)
  • 2nd ritornello (bars 43 – 45)
  • 3rd ritornello (bars 60 – 72)
  • 3rd episode (bars 723 - 90)
  • 4th ritornello (bars 902 - 93)
  • 4th episode (bars 94 – 116)
  • 5th ritornello (bars 117 – 141)

Note: Complete 

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