Concerto III in C Major (BWV 594) for Flute & Strings

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Uploaded on Jul 14, 2016

A fairly common practice in the Baroque era was for organists (especially the great J.S. Bach) to “borrow” and transcribe orchestral music from themselves or other composers to create spectacular organ solos. Bach adapted several works by Vivaldi such as this Concerto in D “Grosso Mogul” originally for solo violin and strings. The organ and brass pass the musical material between them and sometimes double at the octave to create a powerful effect.

In 1713-1714, Bach transcribed at least nine concertos of Vivaldi, three for solo organ (BWV 593-4, 596), and six for solo harpsichord (BWV 972-3, 975-6, 978, 980).The most noticeable characteristics of Bach’s organ concertos after Vivaldi is probably the arranger’s faithful adherence to the original compositions: Bach does not change the basic structure of any of the movements at all. Perhaps because the transcriptions were intended to be demonstrations of the Italian concerto form, Bach was reluctant to introduce any structural alteration to his transcriptions. More surprising is that many passages idiomatic to the violin in the original, such as fast repeated notes and large leaps, are directly transferred by Bach to the transcribed version without any modification, resulting in figurations that keyboard players might feel uncomfortable playing (e.g., BWV 593/iii/mm. 75-81, Ex. 1). These unidiomatic passages in his organ concertos did not bother Bach at all perhaps because the transcriptions were made “before he had reached his prime as an organ composer,” Nevertheless, it is at the same time obvious that Bach has no intention of mechanically transferring every single note of his models to his works.

Despite that Bach’s three organ concertos after Vivaldi may not be written originally for the purpose of self-education, their impact on Bach is undeniable. In 1717, Bach was appointed as Kapellmeister at the court of Anhalt-Cöthen.. Since the prince’s interest was not in religious works, but rather, in instrumental compositions, in Cöthen Bach had the opportunity to compose some very fine concertos, like the six Brandenburg Concertos, the A-minor and E-major Violin Concertos (BWV 1041-2), and the D-minor Concerto for Two Violins (BWV 1043). In these concertos, he could have adopted the model of Corelli’s concerti grossi, which consists of a number of short movements contrasting in character, and does not emphasize the difference in style between the solo and tutti sections. However, Bach seemed to have a predilection for the Vivaldi model perhaps because it is more “compact and symmetrical” than the Corelli model. In the opening movement of the A-minor and D-minor Concertos, a Vivaldi-type ritornello scheme is used. The long solo episode between the central and concluding ritornelli in both movements are punctuated by orchestral references to the opening measures, and this technique of recalling ritornello materials in solo sections is also employed in Vivaldi’s Op. 3 No. 8 /i.

Source: "Bach the Transcriber" (http://web.mit.edu/ckcheung/www/MusicalWritings_files).

Although originally written for Organ, I created this modern interpretation of the Concerto III in C Major (BWV 594) for Flute & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).


Pages 42
Duration 18:19
Measures 524
Key signature natural
Parts 5
Part names Flute, Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Privacy Everyone can see this score
License None (All rights reserved)
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