Violin Concerto in A minor (Bach)

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Violin Concerto
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach.jpg
Key A minor
Catalogue BWV 1041
Year 1723 (1723)
Period Baroque
Genre Concerto
Composed 1717 (1717)–1723
Movements 3
Scoring Violin, Strings, and Continuo

The Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041, was composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. While it is "generally thought to have been composed at Cöthen in 1717-23",[1] Christoph Wolff has argued that the work may have been written in Leipzig [2] during Bach's time as director of the Collegium Musicum; John Butt also believes that Bach wrote it "probably soon after taking over the Leipzig Collegium Musicum in 1729".[3] In any event, the only autograph source to survive are parts Bach copied out (along with other copyists)[4] in Leipzig circa 1730 [5] from a now lost score or draft.

Structure and analysis[edit]

The first twelve bars of the third movement

The piece has three movements:

  1. Allegro, in A Minor (2/4) meter;
  2. Andante, in C Major (4/4) meter;
  3. Allegro assai, in A Minor (9/8) meter.

The opening movement is in ritornello form. This means that there is a main section that comes back in fragments in both the solo violin and orchestral parts. This 'ritornello' can be found in the first movement up until bar 24. The motifs of the theme of the Allegro moderato appear in changing combinations and are separated and intensified throughout the movement.

In the Andante second movement, Bach uses an insistent pattern in the ostinato bass part that is repeated constantly in the movement. He focuses the variation in the harmonic relations. Butt notes that "Bach seems to have associated" the ostinato scheme "particularly with violin concertos.".[6]

In the final movement Bach relies on bariolage figures to generate striking acoustic effects. The meter and rhythm are those of a gigue.[7] Butt describes it as "perhaps Bach's most animated and carefree movement in the minor mode.".[8]

Instrumentations and transcriptions[edit]

The Clavier Concerto in G minor, BWV 1058, is an arrangement of this concerto with piano or harpsichord.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robin Stowell, "Violin Concertos," in Oxford Composer Companions: J.S. Bach, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 492
  2. ^ Christoph Wolff, "Bach's Leipzig Chamber Music," in Bach: Essays on His Life and Work, Harvard University Press, 1991, pp. 234-237
  3. ^ John Butt, "Bach Violin Concertos," 2016, booklet note to Linn CKD 519|URL=https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6IHpvmfr6gMTm1GczdhMlZVNTg/view
  4. ^ the copyists were J. S. Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Ludwig Krebs, and an unknown copyists: URL=http://www.bach-digital.de/servlets/MCRSearchServlet?mode=results&id=-1eoy0c7t6t1edhg1l0msk&numPerPage=10&mask=content/index.xml&query=%28source32%20contains%20%221041%22%29%20AND%20%28objectType%20=%20%22source%22%29%20AND%20%28source44%20=%20%220001%22%29%20AND%20%28source42%20=%20%220001%22%29&maxResults=0&inventsource.sortField.1=ascending
  5. ^ Christoph Wolff, "Bach's Leipzig Chamber Music," in Bach: Essays on His Life and Work, Harvard University Press, 1991, pp. 234-237
  6. ^ John Butt, "Bach Violin Concertos," 2016, booklet note to Linn CKD 519|URL=https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6IHpvmfr6gMTm1GczdhMlZVNTg/view
  7. ^ Robin Stowell, "Violin Concertos," in Oxford Composer Companions: J.S. Bach, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 493
  8. ^ John Butt, "Bach Violin Concertos," 2016, booklet note to Linn CKD 519|URL=https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6IHpvmfr6gMTm1GczdhMlZVNTg/view

External links[edit]