Brandenburg Concerto No 5 Mvmt 3

  • Created by: kamna03
  • Created on: 21-12-18 20:32


The concerto grosso has solo instruments of a flute and a violin, with the harpsichord as an additional solo due to the part being so virtuosic. The concertino contains two violins, a viola and cello with the harpsichord also playing. 

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  • The texture is polyphonic/contrapuntal (i.e. contains several independent melodic strands sounding together). 
  • The movement begins in fugal style. A fugue is a complicated piece which uses imitation almost throughout. This piece is not an actual fugue but uses fugal characteristics (the opening four bars are a good example). 
  • The subject (main theme first statement) in the solo violin is followed by an answer in the flute at a distance of two bars. We now have two-part imitation
  • There are then four additional bars before the harpsichord left hand enters with the subject, which is then answered two bars later by the right hand. 
  • The harpsichord plays in two-part counterpoint. 
  • Once both hands are playing, the music is in four-part counterpoint. 
  • Occasionally the flute and violin play in thirds. The harpsichord also does this. 
  • When the ripieno is playing, the flute and violin sometimes double each other in unison (e.g. bar 33). 
  • The bass line for the new middle section theme has a tonic pedal on B.
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  • Much of the music is disjunct (stepwise) style (e.g. bar 2), though there are leaps (e.g. fourths in bar 1). 
  • Often the conjunct music is extended to scalic runs, especially in the harpsichord part. 
  • There is a rising sequence at bar 137 (the same short phrase repeated several times, going up one note each time). 
  • There are occasional ornaments, with trills (e.g. bar 19) in the harpsichord part.
  • There are appoggiaturas in the main middle section theme when it returns in A major (e.g. bar 148).
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  • The metre is 2/4 – two beats to the bar – but the music could also be notated in 6/8 compound time. It is essentially a Baroque gigue (a dance in compound duple time). 
  • It uses triplets and dotted rhythm throughout. 
  • The dotted quaver-semiquaver grouping (as in the first bar) would have been performed in triplet rhythm – so the dotted quaver would be two-thirds of a beat, and the semiquaver would be one-third of a beat. 
  • The harpsichord part, in particular, has many semiquaver runs
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  • The music is in D major. 
  • This key is used for most of the two A sections. 
  • The B section modulates to the dominant (A major) and relative minor (B minor). 
  • The music is diatonic.
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  • The harmony uses the standard chords of the time (i.e. predominantly chords I, IV and V, with occasional use of II and VI), including dominant sevenths in various inversions. 
  • The harmony is functional. 
  • The harmony uses mainly root position and first inversion chords. 
  • Perfect cadences announce the ends of sections. 
  • Suspensions are used occasionally (i.e. 9–8 suspension at bar 130)
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The structure of this movement is very different from the standard ritornello form found in the concertos of composers such as Vivaldi.
The movement is a large ternary structure (ABA). Very like the first movement, this third movement could be thought of as Ritornello form, although the return to original A section material is never entirely conclusive, within the middle section. This introduction of motifs from other sections was a common and clever technique often used by J.S. Bach.

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era. He worked mainly as a church organist, music director and composer in a number of cities in central Germany. At the time of the Brandenburg Concertos, however, he was employed as ‘Kapellmeister’ (court music director), at the town of Köthen from 1717 to 1723.

The six Brandenburg Concertos were written between 1711 and 1720, and in 1721 were dedicated to Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg. They were not given this title until after their rediscovery in the 19th century. It is not known whether this presentation was intended as part of a job application or for any other reason. It is known that the Margrave had shown interest in Bach’s music and almost certainly the music was never played by the Brandenburg musicians.

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