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Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach Composer

Discussion and Introduction to Bach's 'Brandenburg' Concertos Nos.4 and 5 (Naxos): Narration by Jeremy Siepmann

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  • Discussion and Introduction to Bach's 'Brandenburg' Concertos Nos.4 and 5 (Naxos): Narration by Jeremy Siepmann
    Pr. Instrument: Narrator
    • The Brandenburgs as concerti grossi
    • Introduction: Melody, Theme and Motif; Bach's opening gambit
    • Onwards and upwards: Motif No.2 and its function
    • The two elements of Motif No.2 and its function
    • The 'motto' rhythm hidden even within the opening bar
    • Motif No.3 introduced by the recorders, has a kind of 'hovering' character; its repetition in risi
    • Motif No.3 repeated for a second, 'directed' listen
    • Bach reminds us of the opening
    • Motif No.4 - a steadily rising derivative of Motif No.1
    • Motif No.5, a lovely, bouncy, syncopated flourish, in which all instruments join
    • Opening Ritornello (complete)
    • Episode 1 begins with virtuoso energy of the solo violin, made up of alternating arpeggios and risi
    • Motif No.3 returns, courtesy of the recorders, recently sidelined by the violin, which now accompa
    • Ritornello 2, a varied repeat of Ritornello 1, arrives after much harmonic movement, this time in E
    • Episode 2, Part 1, preceded by the 'fanfare' motif from which its first theme derives
    • Episode 2 continued, with more bravura dazzle from the solo violin; key shifts from A minor to C ma
    • Repeat of section for purposes of hearing the harmonic movement
    • Ritornello 3, with the prominent participation of the soloists
    • Episode 3 proves retrospective, featuring transposed repeats of earlier material
    • Ritornello 4, not altogether what it might seem; solo violin takes 'motto' motif, orchestral violin
    • Episode 4. Cue to part 1, focusing on 'soloistic' counterpoint provided by the continuo
    • Return to Ritornello 4 to hear sources of Episode 4, Part 2
    • Episode 4 continued, with emphasis placed on conversational interchanges between orchestral violins
    • Return to opening Ritornello in order to enhance awareness of the contrast between G major and B mi
    • Ritornello 5, beginning
    • Ritornello 5, continued with emphasis on the determined banishment of B minor
    • Cue to complete performance of First Movement
    • First Movement (complete) #1.
    • Introduction: Rhythmic Motif provides basis for whole movement; the kernel from which much of the m
    • The melody not much to write home about; nor is the meek 'answer' offered by the soloists
    • Putting the two together, thereby establishing a relationship
    • Contrast and syncopation - their relationship in opening section
    • Listening from the 'bottom up'
    • The intertwining and alternation of solo and orchestra; the irregularity of metrical groupings
    • The next orchestral phrase; slowing the pace but not the tempo
    • The First Section (complete)
    • The next section; foreground symmetry and background variety
    • The central section's groupings are hugely asymmetrical
    • Cue to Second Movement as a whole
    • Second Movement (complete) #1.
    • Introduction to the Third Movement...
    • Fugue subject
    • First counter-subject
    • Second counter-subject
    • Bass entry of the subject
    • Exposition (complete)
    • First Episode; the use of fragmentary derivatives
    • The difference a detail can make!
    • Harmonic Rhythm defined; back to the beginning to find the seed...
    • ...and now the blossom
    • The First Solo Episode; a confusion of terms; onwards, the the introduction of the solo episode, th
    • Ritornello 2 complete
    • Solo Episode 2 dominated by thrilling virtuosity from the solo violin
    • Ritornello 3: highly contrapuntal and dominated by subject-derivatives, with much harmonic fluidity
    • Ritornello 3 continues: engine of harmonic motion repeated at higher pitch
    • More on Ritornello 3: the use of long, sustained, slightly syncopated notes in upper strings and re
    • Ritornello 3 (complete)
    • Solo Episode 3 - less solo than earlier ones, what with (albeit very discreet) orchestral accompani
    • The two recorders converse in canon, accompanied for six exhilarating bars by cello 'continuo'
    • Finishing Solo Exposition 3: orchestral cellos introduce what sounds like it's going to be the comp
    • Approaching the final Ritornello; stretto explained
    • Cue to Final Ritornello, noting tension-building 'pedal point' in cellos and double bass
    • Coda - the 'tail-piece', with its surprising 'hammer strokes'
    • Cue to Third Movement
    • Third Movement (complete)
    • Opening Music; analysis and phony analysis; Shaw quote; Motif No.1
    • Music, energy and relationship
    • The outlines of a melody emerge
    • The opening bar again
    • Motif No.2: ta / dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya
    • Motif No.3, and an important feature of its rhythm
    • Beethoven Fifth Symphony (opening)
    • Motif No.4
    • Motif No.5
    • Motif No.6
    • Episode 1: a 'Love Duet'
    • Episode 1 continued; violin and flute reverse direction of their theme; the 'love song' Motif answe
    • 'False' Ritornello; soloists interrupt; rising 'sighing' motif; harpsichord continues downwards
    • Four things going on at once, in violin, flute, harpsichord right hand, harpsichord left hand
    • The orchestra returns, picking up at exactly the spot where it was interrupted
    • The harpsichord intervenes with derivative of Motif 4; key shifts from A major to B minor
    • The orchestra returns to the foreground and brings this section to an end
    • Harpsichord emerges as virtuoso; a series of expectations are frustrated
    • A backwards look; blurred distinctions between soloists and orchestra; 'Mozartian' development
    • Out of the Twilight Zone; a sequence of surprises
    • The epoch-making harpsichord cadenza and the final Ritornello
    • Cue to the First Movement
    • First Movement (complete) #2.
    • Introduction; the opening of Ritornello
    • The first bar; the first main building block
    • The flute motif
    • Opening of the first solo episode
    • An important motif; the second main building block
    • The second main theme
    • Ritornello 2; violin and flute as 'orchestra'
    • Episode 2; inversion of the original motifs
    • More on Episode 2
    • Episode 1 and Episode 2 compared
    • Episode 2; key shifts from D major to F sharp minor
    • Ritornello 3; an exact transposition of Ritornello 1
    • Episode 3 contrasted with Episode 1
    • Episode 3 described in detail
    • Ritornello 4; second main theme's first appearance in a Ritornello
    • Episode 4: dominated by inversions
    • Cue to Second Movement
    • Second Movement (complete) #2.
    • Introduction: Ritornello 1
    • The Fugue Subject: close juxtaposition of contrasting elements
    • Flute takes the 'answer', with countersubject in the violin
    • Contrary motions as a contrapuntal device
    • Contrary motion as a listening aid; a new theme
    • Playing with the counter-subject; a musical game of tag
    • Hidden rhythms: background variety behind foreground uniformity
    • Fugal writing and the compatibility of parts; the Exposition
    • Episode 1, taken by soloists, contains important 'seeds'
    • The orchestra enters at last, but by stealth
    • Stretto and musical football
    • Key changes to B minor, introducing extensive Middle Section
    • The Middle Section a precursor of the Mozartian 'development'
    • The Fugue Subject out in force: first four immediately consecutive entries yet
    • Ambiguity of mode and a Scottish twist
    • Middle Section continued; harpsichord dominates
    • Cue to Last Movement
    • Last Movement (complete)

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