Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 4
About This Work
Though the Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 contains a violin part of great virtuosity, Bach later transformed and reconfigured the piece into the sixth of his six Harpsichord Concertos (BWV 1057). The fact that Bach was able to rethink the material of a
violin oriented piece into an entirely different keyboard oriented piece rather than just arrange one concerto for another, illustrates what a treasure trove of melodic and formal ideas this piece is. The work is also an example of the innovative merger of various forms. The fourth Brandenburg Concerto is highly innovative in the way the piece merges the concerto grosso and standard violin concerto forms.
The violin part in this concerto is quite virtuosic in the first and third movements. In the second movement, the violin also provides a bass when the concertino group plays. Unlike the other Brandenburg Concertos, and Baroque concerti in general, the fourth Brandenburg makes use of all the specified instruments in every movement. Usually, the inner movements give some of the woodwinds or brass a rest. Bach also makes use of a lilting and highly memorable ritornello theme which returns in various guises and lengths, heard in the flutes and violin, but not in the ripieno strings. This is both an innovative and melodiously enjoyable piece.
-- Greg La Traille
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