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Name of Work

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Movements:
Vivace
Largo ma non tanto
Allegro

Performances:


Nov 08, 2009



Jasmine Lin, Violin
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Ronald Satkiewicz, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Stephen Balderston, Cello
Peter Lloyd, Double bass
Jason Moy, Harpsichord
Baird Dodge, Violin
Jasmine Lin, Violin


Nov 09, 2009



Jasmine Lin, Violin
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Ronald Satkiewicz, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Stephen Balderston, Cello
Peter Lloyd, Double bass
Jason Moy, Harpsichord
Baird Dodge, Violin

BACH - Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043

Composed in 1720

Bach wrote his violin concertos while serving as “Court Kapellmeister and Director of the Princely Chamber Musicians” at Anhalt-Cöthen, north of Leipzig. He was responsible for secular music during his tenure in Cöthen (1717-1723), and it was during that time that he composed many of his instrumental works, including the Brandenburg Concertos, the orchestral suites, many suites and sonatas for solo instruments and keyboard, the suites and sonatas for unaccompanied violin and cello, and such important solo keyboard pieces as the French Suites and the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Prince Leopold at Cöthen was a well-trained and appreciative musician, and Bach worked diligently to provide him with music of the finest quality incorporating the latest styles. For the violin concertos, Bach studied the fashionable works of the Italian school, particularly the compositions of Vivaldi. He transcribed several of them as solos or concertos for keyboard so that he could both learn the inner workings of those splendid pieces and expand the performing library of the Cöthen musicians. An additional source of Bach’s skill as a composer for the violin was his own experience as a string player. His son Carl Philipp Emanuel recalled, “He played the violin cleanly and penetratingly. He understood to perfection the possibilities of the stringed instruments.”

The three movements of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins follow the fast–slow–fast pattern of the traditional Italian model. The parts for the solo violins are treated as twin melodies, exchanging motives, intertwining contrapuntally and constantly engaging in scintillating musical conversation with each other and with the orchestra. The first movement, in which solo episodes are separated by the ensemble’s ritornello, is filled with a darkly expressive vitality. The Largo is one of the most poignantly beautiful pieces of music ever written. The soloists soar above a simple accompaniment from the ensemble, which, unlike the first and third movements, makes no attempt to converse with them. This gently swaying lullaby, in a key suffused with cool sunlight, is full of surpassing calm and ravishing beauty. The sense of urgency and drama from the first movement returns in the finale, another ritornello form, propelled by Bach’s characteristic rhythmic energy.

Program Notes by Dr. Richard E. Rodda

Performed November 8 & 9, 2009



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