STRING CONCERTOS 3 – Johann &(v?) Georg

There’s some debate as to when Bach wrote his A minor Violin Concerto [BWV 1041] – was it earlier in Köthen (1717-23) or later in Leipzig (1729-30)? The work is clearly based on the concertos of Vivaldi but, being a northerner, Bach adds a whole new layer of musical complexity to the Italian’s simple but effective structure. You can, for example, get a visual notion of this increased knottiness happening at the top, architectural, level from this ground-plan of Bach’s first movement…

If you want to refresh your memory of Vivaldi (or Corelli), pay a visit to the Resources page.


0:00
First movement
4:04 Andante
9:23 Allegro assai


Unlike Bach, Handel espoused the Corelli multi-movement model of the concerto, writing his twelve Op. 6 Concerti Grossi as a tribute to the Italian composer’s Op. 6 (which – if you remember – also consisted of twelve concertante works for strings and continuo). The Handel, while (as ever) not quite as challenging as the Bach, still has its moments…

Largo affettuoso
A tempo giusto
Musette (Larghetto)
Allegro
Allegro


The concerto grosso eventually, with a bit(?) of tweaking, transformed itself into the sinfonia concertante (aka the double or triple concerto). But, in the 20th century, there was a revival of interest in the old form. The Swiss/American composer, Ernest Bloch, wrote two such works, the first for strings with obbligato piano and this, the second, for concertante strings and solo string quartet.

0:00 – I. Maestoso – Allegro
5:55 – II. Andante
9:42 – III. Allegro
13:50 – IV. Tranquillo – Animato

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