Talk:Brandenburg Concertos

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BWV 1050a[edit]

Please check your facts (Bach Digital helps) - the two concerts, except for (as justly said) many many MINOR differences, are the same! Instrumentation (yes there is a violoncello part, just check Bach Digital) and the cadenza are the same! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:23, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

A "microcosm of Baroque music"[edit]

" The concertos have been called a 'microcosm of Baroque music,' " -- by whom? If you can't find the source I suggest somebody changes it to something like "The concertos could be described as a microcosm of Baroque music".

I couldn't find any source for this on Google, just a lot of people quoting it unsourced. Let's get rid of it entirely; removing the quotes doesn't change the fact that it's unsourced. See WP:CITE and WP:V. Anyway, they're not a microcosm: they're all in a single genre. What about opera, trio sonata, oratorio, organ prelude, ground bass, and other characteristic Baroque styles? That quote is just bogus. —Wahoofive (talk) 17:45, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. Will remove it if no-one complains in a little while --Lambyuk 02:09, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Done--Lambyuk 00:12, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Source needed for statement on the fifth concerto[edit]

"A minor detail about the Fifth Concerto indicates something about the size of the ensembles with which they were originally performed. This concerto (see below) features a harpsichord solo, which was almost certainly performed by Bach himself. It also lacks a second violin part. The best explanation of this goes as follows: We know that when playing in the string section, Bach preferred to take the viola part; according to a surviving letter, this was so he could sit "in the middle of the harmony." Since as keyboard soloist Bach was not available to take the viola part for this concerto, one of his violinists must have had to move over to play the viola. The explanation, of course, relies on the assumption that Bach's ensemble used only one musician per part."

The quoted passage above appears in section 2. Do we have a source for this? I believe it's too elaborate to have here without a source specified, so if there is none it shouldn't be here. If we get a source, we at least shouldn't claim that it's the best explanation.

Also, though this doesn't really matter right now, I think it's a pretty strange explanation. IIRC, there's not a lot that supports the idea of one instrument per part in Bach's orchestra, and I don't see much reason to assume Bach always played the viola (to such an extent that there was no other violist) just because of a single letter. A to me more satisfying explanation would be that he simply chose to write it like that, perhaps because there were unusually few competent violinists or something. EldKatt (Talk) 12:23, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

I have seen this statement repeated a lot. I don't think there is a reason to remove it. It's a reasonable opinion. The other thing is that with more than 1 player to a part, it tends to overwhelm the sound of the harpsichord. 15:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Astonishment over valveless trumpeting[edit]

In hope that someone is watching this page, I'll share my doubtfulness regarding the following passage, in the section about the second concerto:

Scholars today continue to be astonished that the intended trumpeter (probably the court trumpeter in Cothen, Johann Ludwig Schreiber) was able to handle the rapid passagework while playing an instrument that had no valves.

Astonished? Maybe a few decades ago, but nowadays there are plenty of trumpeters who can handle it on a natural trumpet. I'm not feeling very bold at the moment, but I will remove (or rephrase) this if nobody objects. EldKatt (Talk) 20:40, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Recording section revert[edit]

I just reverted Trisdee's "Recordings" section addition. Great as they may be, I don't feel Wikipedia is the place list recordings in this form, especially as other sites [1] do it much better and will be updated far more often. There is almost certainly precedent for this elsewhere in WP. Lambyuk 19:29, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

"Concertos" or concerti?[edit]

I always thought the plural of concerto was concerti (e.g. Concerti Grossi) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:52, 8 January 2007 (UTC).

I agree, I think that the plural of concerto is concerti also. Seanbow 03:55, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

You're correct. Concerti is proper.

If nobody objects, then, I will rename this article accordingly. Calaf 18:26, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

To re-iterate what I wrote on the other version of this page: The Wikipedia naming conventions specifies, and general English usage tends towards 'concertos'. Also, almost all recordings use the nomenclature 'concertos'. While Italian plural 'concerti' is correct in Italian, it is not the current English usage (though has been used variably in the distant past). Please don't think that using the phrase 'if nobody objects...' gives license to make such large changes: two or three people discussing a point on the talk page does not constitue consensus. It is more appropriate to check the Wikipedia naming conventions if you are in doubt. 13:39, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

See this page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (music). I quote: "Plurals of Italian terms should be anglicized:

  • cellos
  • concertos
  • tempos"

13:41, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


can anybody confirm that one of the concertos has been analyzed and found to be fractal, and document that? an altavista search was not helpful.

Removed section[edit]

I removed this section, titled Orchestral versus chamber music because it is only tangentially related to the article:

The fifth concerto is used in arguments that Bach's concertos were played with one player to a part. Uniquely, it has one violin part rather than two in the orchestra. Bach is known to have preferred to take the viola part often when playing in ensembles, so he could sit "in the middle of the harmony". The argument goes that, since Bach was not available to take the viola part for this concerto (since he was playing the solo harpsichord), one of his violinists must have had to move over to play the viola, and that was the reason for the sole orchestral violin part. This is by no means conclusive evidence and is taken as merely a possible explanation. The inference is not necessarily that Bach would have only ever used one player per part but that the number of players per part was ad libitum from one upwards. In purely practical terms, the smaller size of the one-player-per-part ensemble would make sense in the 5th concerto, as the sound of the harpsichord would tend to get drowned out in a larger ensemble; this would be particularly unfortunate in a work designed to show off the harpsichord and its player.

There is a rather interesting set of arguments about OPPP (one player per part), and the specific conditions of performance in Cöthen are a separate strand, but neither on this page, I think.

Hope the general tidy is better...

JH(emendator) 22:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

inaccuracies in the instrumentation?[edit]

I know virtually no Italian, but the English instrumentations don't seem to match up with what the Italian inscriptions say.

1st: 2 Corni di Caccia, 2 Hautb: è Bassono, Violino Piccolo concertato, 2 Violini, una Viola è Violoncello, col Basso Continuo.
... three oboes ...
2nd: 1 Tromba, 1 Fiauto, 1 Hautbois, 1 Violino concertati, è 2 Violini, 1 Viola è Violone in Ripieno col Violoncello è Basso per il Cembalo
... basso continuo including cello.
3rd: tre Violini, tre Viole, è tre Violoncelli col Basso per il Cembalo
Instrumentation: three violins, three violas, three cellos, and basso continuo including violone.

The Italian for 2nd and 3rd concertos sounds to me like "basso continuo using the harpsichord." All of the links to "basso continuo" link to double bass, which I don't think is the correct thing. The fourth one has an unspecified continuo. The fifth one refers to la flûte traversière. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an exact English name or page for it (other than the flute). The sixth one has no inscription listed. --MinorContributor 21:07, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Fixing some of this. First of all, basso continuo obviously shouldn't link to double bass--and no longer does.
The first concerto definitely has three oboes, but I'm slightly reluctant to change the Italian quotation--theoretically it's possible that Bach made a mistake. I'm changing it anyway, though, since that's not too likely.
I'm changing all of the "basso continuo including x" to either just "basso continuo" or "basso continuo including harpsichord", since it's really not right for us to make our own editorial choices about suitable continuo instruments. Only where the autograph score suggests particulars should we mention it.
"Traversiere" simply means what we now would call flute. "Flute" or "flauto" alone would at this time refer to the recorder, hence the "traversiere" qualifier. We could call it "transverse flute" as well, and some modern texts on early music do use this term, but it's not necessary.
I'll probably try to dig up the autographs myself and have a look to add missing information when I have time. EldKatt (Talk) 11:04, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

keys of other movements[edit]

Someone just added a note on the lack of trumpets in the second movemnt of #2 because the trumpet could change keys back then without changing crooks. Looking at the score, I think the second movement of #2 is in D minor (though I'd like to confirm that, all I know for sure is "one flat"). Anyhow, it might be worth noting when movements differ from the main key of the concerto.DavidRF (talk) 16:42, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Scanning the scores, I don't see any changes in the key signatures. Are all the middle movements in the relative minor? DavidRF (talk) 19:25, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

"widely regarded as among the finest compositions..."[edit]

Sounds like weasel words to me. (talk) 12:05, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like it, but its also true. Sometimes its hard to find citations that back up some of these universally held opinions. I'll see what I can find, but most of what I've seen written about these works assumes the reader is already familiar (perhaps overly so) with how great everyone thinks they are before diving into more detailed analysis. Checking Steinberg's concerto book, on page 12, he himself uses weasel words "these forever vernal concertos, which have been called 'the most entertaining music in the world'" (no citation from him for the words he put in quotes). Here's a usable citation. "The Brandenburg Concertos hold a special place in any study of music history, for they are some of the most significant and most inspired concertos of the Baroque or any other era." Michael Thomas Roeder, "A History of the Concerto", p. 83, Amadeus Press (2003), ISBN 978-0931340611. I don't know if its worth adding that, but that should quell your doubts. Its just a single sentence in the lede.DavidRF (talk) 13:03, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

"Concertino: flute or recorder"[edit]

My apologies. After re-examining the score, my conclusion is that the flute had replaced the recorder in the concertino in most of the later recordings or performances, so it's "flute or recorder". The difference with instrumentation in the autograph score may cause some confusion. This may be useful "In the present case, Bach's ripieno includes solo flute [originally recorder], trumpet, violin, oboe, and continuo. (The continuo is never omitted, as it provides the harmonic foundation of the entire piece.)" from Bach 101 Ptangto (talk) 16:23, 27 August 2010 (UTC)


Christian Ludwig was not Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt.

His elder brother Philip was the Lord of Schwedt, Christian did not own or have rights over the town or lands attached to Schwedt. Both brothers, as royal princes of Prussia, were given the courtesy title of "Margrave of Brandenburg" in their lifetimes. Later, Philip and his two sons were retrospectively known as Margraves of Brandenburg-Schwedt to delineate their particular branch of the Hohenzollerns. Therefore Christian Ludwig was never Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt and should not be referred to as such.

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No support for move is likely Mike Cline (talk) 16:59, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Brandenburg concertosBrandenburg concerti – "Concerti" is the correct plural of concerto. (talk) 02:11, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Citations needed for quotations[edit]

Can someone please supply a citation, with page number, for the specific edition and translation of the dedication used in the article? Also, other quotations require page numbers and full bibliographic citations. Wikipedia guidelines require a pinpoint citation for every direct quotation. Thanks.—Finell 06:42, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Notable recordings[edit]

I think we need a notable recordings section, which could include among others, the Rampal/Maurice Andre set from Red Seal 1974. Gramophone magazine declared that if they could listen to all extant recordings, and survive the ordeal, this would be the best.(mercurywoodrose) (talk) 19:47, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

"no tempo indication"[edit]

Per this discussion, I have corrected several tempo indications which had originally been taken from one specific recording that did not properly distinguish, and had given the tempos used in those performances. I also made one correction from "non troppo" to "non tanto", per IMSLP and additional recordings. Milkunderwood (talk) 05:28, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Clarino or clarion[edit]

I've never heard of a "clarino". Do the uses of this alleged instrument in the article actually mean "clarion"? (talk) 15:48, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes. "clarino" is one of the many variants of "clarion" included in Clarion_(instrument)#Etymology. I am not sure which variant should be used where. It could be that 'clarino' was how Bach spelled it, or it could just be a typo in the wiki-edit.DavidRF (talk) 16:30, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
[2] - apparently a blogsite, but quite interesting. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:25, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
According to Harvard Dictionary, "clarion" is "an ancient English trumpet" whereas "clarino" was a virtuoso method of trumpet playing in the 17th and 18th centuries which used very high harmonics. (Damn spell-check keeps trying to change it to "clarion") —Wahoofive (talk) 02:13, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Viola da gamba[edit]

The wide repertoire in France and Germany up till the middle of the 18th century, including Bach's own use of the instrument in both his passions and in some great cantatas, should be ample proof that the viola da gamba was NOT considered old-fashioned at that time. Dufuxing, Sept 28, 2013. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:17, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Requested move 16 September 2014[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Number 57 19:31, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Brandenburg concertosBrandenburg Concertos – the version with Concertos capitalized is more popular times ten (see ngram in discussion section below), so per WP:COMMONNAME should be moved to the more common name for this set of six concertos. As the set name is a non-generic name, the article title should also be italicized per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Titles#Major works. Francis Schonken (talk) 09:24, 16 September 2014 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.


Any additional comments:
It shows up OK on my MSIE 11. --Stfg (talk) 13:49, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.