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NA 8055

Classics Explained: BACH, J.S. - Brandenburg Concertos Nos 4 & 5 (Siepmann)

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2011


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Naxos

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Total Time - 151:18
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JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

   
   


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1 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G

1:28
     
 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G - First Movement

 
2 Introduction: Melody, Theme and Motif; Bach's opening gambit 2:15
3 Onwards and upwards: Motif No. 2 and its function 0:51
4 The two elements of Motif No. 2 and the effect of their combination 0:28
5 The 'motto' rhythm hidden even within the opening bar 1:07
6 Motif No. 3, introduced by the two recorders, has a kind of 'hovering' character 0:26
7 Motif No. 3 repeated for a second, 'directed' listen 0:23
8 Bach reminds us of the opening 0:17
9 Motif No. 4 - a steadily rising derivative of Motif No. 1 0:19
10 Motif No. 5, a lovely, bouncy, syncopated flourish, in which all the instruments join 0:23
11 Opening Ritornello (complete) 1:47
12 Episode 1 begins with virtuoso entry of the solo violin, made up of alternating arpeggios 1:15
13 Motif No. 3 returns, courtesy of the recorders, recently sidelined by the violin 0:47
14 Ritornello 2, a varied repeat of Ritornello 1, arrives after much harmonic movement 0:43
15 Episode 2, Part 1, preceded by the 'fanfare' motif from which its first theme derives 0:59
16 Episode 2 continued, with more bravura dazzle from the solo violin 1:05
17 Repeat of section for purposes of hearing the harmonic movement 0:47
18 Ritornello 3, with the prominent participation of the soloists 0:47
19 Episode 3 proves retrospective, featuring transposed repeats of earlier material 0:49
20 Ritornello 4, not altogether what it might seem; solo violin takes 'motto' motif 0:48
21 Episode 4. Cue to Part 1, focusing on 'soloistic' counterpoint provided by the continuo 0:56
22 Return to Ritornello 4 to hear sources of Episode 4, Part 2 0:36
23 Episode 4 continued, with emphasis placed on conversational interchanges 0:28
24 Return to opening Ritornello in order to enhance awareness of the contrast 0:53
25 Ritornello 5, beginning 0:10
26 Ritornello 5 continued, with emphasis on the determined banishment of B minor 0:56
27 Cue to complete performance of First Movement 0:46
28 First Movement (complete) 6:19
     
 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G - Second Movement

 
29 Introduction: Rhythmic Motif provides basis for whole movement 1:17
30 The melody not much to write home about; nor is the meek 'answer' offered by the soloists 0:14
31 Putting the two together, thereby establishing a relationship 0:21
32 Contrast and syncopation - their relationship in opening section 2:18
33 Listening from the 'botton up' 2:48
34 The intertwining and alternation of solo and orchestra; the irregularity of metrical groupings 2:14
35 The next orchestral phrase; slowing the pace but not the tempo 0:28
36 The First Section (complete) 1:36
37 The next section; foreground symmetry and background variety 1:29
38 The central section's groupings are hugely asymmetrical 1:12
39 Cue to Second Movement as a whole 0:11
40 Second Movement (complete) 3:17
     
 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G - Third Movement

 
41 Introduction to the Third Movement... 4:57
42 Fugue subject 1:04
43 First counter-subject 0:31
44 Second counter-subject 0:51
45 Bass entry of the subject 0:14
46 Exposition (complete) 0:33
47 First Episode; the use of fragmentary derivatives 0:33
48 The difference a detail can make! 0:15
49 Harmonic Rhythm defined; back to the beginning to find the seed... 1:06
50 ...and now the blossom 0:21
51 The First Solo Episode; a confusion of terms; onwards, to the introduction of the solo episode 1:59
52 Ritornello 2 complete 1:11
53 Solo Episode 2 dominated by thrilling virtuosity from the solo violin 1:47
54 Ritornello 3: highly contrapuntal and dominated by subject-derivatives, with much harmonic fluidity 0:46
55 Ritornello 3 continues: engine of harmonic motion repeated at higher pitch 0:06
56 More on Ritornello 3: the use of long, sustained, slightly syncopated notes in upper strings 0:21
57 Ritornello 3 (complete) 0:31
58 Solo Episode 3 - less solo than earlier ones, what with (albeit very discreet) 0:28
59 The two recorders converse in canon, accompanied for six exhilarating bars by cello 'continuo' 0:22
60 Finishing Solo Exposition 3: orchestral cellos introduce what sounds 0:33
61 Approaching the final Ritornello; stretto explained 0:56
62 Cue to Finale Ritornello, noting tension-building 'pedal point' in cellos and double bass 1:02
63 Coda - the 'tail-piece', with its surprising 'hammer strokes' 0:58
64 Cue to Third Movement 0:19
65 Third Movement (complete) 4:31
     
   


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Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D - First Movement

 
1 Opening Music; analysis and phony analysis; Shaw quote; music: Motif No. 1 3:07
2 Music, energy and relationship 0:58
3 The outlines of a melody emerge 0:41
4 The opening bar again 0:25
5 Motif No. 2: ta / dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya 0:11
6 Motif No. 3, and an important feature of its rhythm 0:32
7 Beethoven Fifth Symphony (opening) 0:19
8 Motif No. 4 0:12
9 Motif No. 5 0:04
10 Motif No. 6 0:05
11 Episode 1: a 'Love Duet' 1:39
12 Episode 1 continued; violin and flute reverse direction of their theme 1:01
13 'False' Ritornello; soloists interrupt; rising 'sighing' motif; harpsichord continues downwards 0:59
14 Four things going on at once, in violin, flute, harpsichord right hand, harpsichord left hand 0:39
15 The orchestra returns, picking up at exactly the spot where it was interrupted 0:28
16 The harpsichord intervenes with derivative of Motif 4; key shifts from A major to B minor 0:25
17 The orchestra returns to foreground and brings this section to an end 0:41
18 Harpsichord emerges as virtuoso; a series of expectations are frustrated 2:32
19 A backwards look; blurred distinctions between soloists and orchestra; 'Mozartian' development 4:35
20 Out of the Twilight Zone; a sequence of surprises 1:57
21 The epoch-making harpsichord cadenza and the final Ritornello 4:50
22 Cue to First Movement 0:52
23 First Movement (complete) 8:59
     
 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D - Second Movement

 
24 Introduction; the opening Ritornello 2:33
25 The first bar; the first main building block 0:16
26 The flute motif 0:16
27 Opening of the first solo episode 1:04
28 An important motif; the second main building block 0:17
29 The second main theme 0:32
30 Ritornello 2; violin and flute as 'orchestra' 0:52
31 Episode 2; inversion of original motifs 0:38
32 More on Episode 2 0:10
33 Episode 1 and Episode 2 compared 0:21
34 Episode 2; key shifts from D major to F sharp minor 0:49
35 Ritornello 3: an exact transposition of Ritornello 1 0:46
36 Episode 3 contrasted with Episode 1 0:33
37 Episode 3 described in detail 1:05
38 Ritornello 4; second main theme's first appearance in a Ritornello 0:57
39 Episode 4: dominated by inversions 1:34
40 Cue to Second Movement 0:06
41 Second Movement (complete) 5:39
     
 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D - Third Movement

 
42 Introduction: Ritornello 1 0:54
43 The Fugue Subject: close juxtaposition of contrasting elements 1:21
44 Flute takes the 'answer', with countersubject in the violin 0:33
45 Contrary motion as a contrapuntal device 0:23
46 Contrary motion as a listening aid; a new theme 0:31
47 Playing with the counter-subject; a musical game of tag 0:51
48 Hidden rhythms: background variety behind foreground uniformity 0:43
49 Fugal writing and the compatibility of parts; the Exposition 1:35
50 Episode 1, taken by soloists, contains important 'seeds' 0:37
51 The orchestra enters at last, but by stealth 1:19
52 Stretto and musical football 1:02
53 Key changes to B minor, introducing extensive Middle Section 1:24
54 The Middle Section a precursor of the Mozartian 'development' 3:05
55 The Fugue Subject out in force: first four immediately consecutive entries yet 1:51
56 Ambiguity of mode and a Scottish twist 0:38
57 Middle Section sontinued; harpsichord dominates 2:10
58 Cue to Last Movement 0:19
59 Last Movement (complete) 4:55


 Ever since the advent of the LP in the 1950s with its expanded capacity, the six Brandenburg Concertos have been Bach’s runaway hit. They were not written as a set but form a collection. Nos. 4 and 5 are the brightest, the most buoyantly happy and the danciest, but in some ways they are also the most complex. By putting these concertos under the musical microscope we can discover how their many ingredients combine to make two of the most irresistible works in the repertoire.

 
This package contains 2 albums of incredibly detailed, insightful and enlightening explanation accompanied by a booklet packed full of supplementary material. To actually hear the music as it is described would seem vital to a proper understanding, and yet this is largely unexplored territory. Here, the benefits are clear. As Siepmann tells us, ’the music is in the music’! 
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