Concerto V in D Minor (BWV 596) for Cello & Harp

Uploaded on Jul 16, 2016

This Concerto in D minor is an organ version of a concerto for two violins and orchestra from Antonio Vivaldi’s (1678-1741) Concerto Grosso from L’Estro Armonico (RV 565), a collection that was published in 1711 by the Amsterdam music publisher Estienne Roger. The work was previously attributed to Wilhelm Friedmann Bach however, the handwriting is undoubtedly J.S. Bach's, who seems to have been the copyist and most probably the arranger

Vivaldi’s music was popular throughout Europe, and Germany was no exception. During his years at the court in Weimar, Bach made a series of arrangements of Italian concerto music for organ and harpsichord, including six concertos by Vivaldi. J. S. Bach, one of the greatest composers of all time, also absorbed into his music the styles of many composers of different nationalities. An Italian master whose compositions had significant impact on Bach was Antonio Vivaldi. 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).

Although the precise function of these arrangements is unclear, they are linked to a penchant for Italian music in Weimar. On 8 July 1713, Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar returned home after studying at Utrecht University for two years. The prince was a talented violinist and composer himself, and probably took back a large pile of brand-new music from the Low Countries. One month earlier, one of Bach’s pupils wrote that he wanted to stay in Weimar, as on the prince’s return he “would be able to hear lots of fine Italian and French music” (“kunte also noch manche schöne Italienische und Frantzösische music hören”). Moreover, Bach himself would undoubtedly be playing “incomparable things” (“unvergleichliche Sachen”) on the renovated organ in the castle chapel. This concerto provides both opportunities at once. On a manuscript in Bach’s own hand, the composer noted down the instructions for the registration of the piece himself. From the tense opening, via the bitter-sweet melodious middle movement, to the exciting final movement, the organist and organ could freshen up Weimar with an incomparable Italian breeze.

Source: allofbach (http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-596/).

Although originally written for Organ, I created this modern interpretation of the Concerto V in D Minor (BWV 596) for Cello & Concert (Pedal) Harp.


Pages 17
Duration 09:42
Measures 199
Key signature 1 flat
Parts 2
Part names Cello, Harp
Privacy Everyone can see this score
License None (All rights reserved)
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Instrumental arrangements of the 6 Organ Concertos (592–597) can be found at: Concerto I in G Major (BWV 592) for Harp Duet: https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/2391236 Concerto II in A Minor (BWV 593) for Wind Quintet: https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/2409636 Concerto III in C Major (BWV 594) for Flute & Strings: https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/2393206 Concerto IV in C Major (BWV 595) for Oboe & Strings: https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/2425811 Concerto V in D Minor (BWV 596) for Cello & Harp: https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/2398511 Concerto VI in Eb Major (BWV 597) for Woodwind Trio: https://musescore.com/mike_magatagan/scores/2419391
Very interesting; it seems like you're only familiar with Bach's organ arrangement, and not Vivaldi's original concerto grosso, where there was a solo part for the cello with many virtuosic passages. Although I don't know much about the harp, it looks a lot more involved than the cello part you wrote, which seems more like accompaniment. In particular, I was a bit disappointed that you put the cello solo of the first movement as Vivaldi wrote it in the harp instead, at 21-32. On the other hand, I thought it was very tasteful to give the violin solo from the Adagio moderato to the cello, although I would've put it an octave higher (not very baroque, but neither is that harp). And then 12-15 in the final movement is suddenly far more challenging for the cello than anything else in the piece. In any case, this was an interesting new way to enjoy this well-known concerto. And I'm still as surprised as ever to see such a fugue in a Vivaldi concerto.
Thanks! I agree with much of what you say. I am familiar with the other Baroque composers but I'm on a 'Bach-kick' right now. I'm focusing on his works and arrangements. My interpretations are sometimes off the beaten path and won't appeal to everyone. I usually do not follow musical doctrine or use baroque instruments. Thanks for appreciating some of the escoteric nuances!

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