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Classical Music Home > Classics Explained: BACH, J.S. - Brandenburg Concertos Nos 4 and 5 (Siepmann)

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

    

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

Classics Explained
An Introduction to... BACH: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 4 & 5

Author and narrator: Jeremy Siepmann
2 CDs, including the complete work
148-page booklet
Naxos 8.558055-56
ISBN: 1-84379-010-6

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 CDs 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'!


Disc 1

Bach, Johann Sebastian

  Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G
1.   The Brandenburgs as concerti grossi 00:01:28
  Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G - First Movement
2.   Introduction: Melody, Theme and Motif; Bach's opening gambit 00:02:15
3.   Onwards and upwards: Motif No. 2 and its function 00:00:51
4.   The two elements of Motif No. 2 and the effect of their combination 00:00:28
5.   The 'motto' rhythm hidden even within the opening bar 00:01:07
6.   Motif No. 3, introduced by the two recorders, has a kind of 'hovering' character 00:00:26
7.   Motif No. 3 repeated for a second, 'directed' listen 00:00:23
8.   Bach reminds us of the opening 00:00:17
9.   Motif No. 4 - a steadily rising derivative of Motif No. 1 00:00:19
10.   Motif No. 5, a lovely, bouncy, syncopated flourish, in which all the instruments join 00:00:23
11.   Opening Ritornello (complete) 00:01:47
12.   Episode 1 begins with virtuoso entry of the solo violin, made up of alternating arpeggios 00:01:15
13.   Motif No. 3 returns, courtesy of the recorders, recently sidelined by the violin 00:00:47
14.   Ritornello 2, a varied repeat of Ritornello 1, arrives after much harmonic movement 00:00:43
15.   Episode 2, Part 1, preceded by the 'fanfare' motif from which its first theme derives 00:00:59
16.   Episode 2 continued, with more bravura dazzle from the solo violin 00:01:05
17.   Repeat of section for purposes of hearing the harmonic movement 00:00:47
18.   Ritornello 3, with the prominent participation of the soloists 00:00:47
19.   Episode 3 proves retrospective, featuring transposed repeats of earlier material 00:00:49
20.   Ritornello 4, not altogether what it might seem; solo violin takes 'motto' motif 00:00:48
21.   Episode 4. Cue to Part 1, focusing on 'soloistic' counterpoint provided by the continuo 00:00:56
22.   Return to Ritornello 4 to hear sources of Episode 4, Part 2 00:00:36
23.   Episode 4 continued, with emphasis placed on conversational interchanges 00:00:28
24.   Return to opening Ritornello in order to enhance awareness of the contrast 00:00:53
25.   Ritornello 5, beginning 00:00:10
26.   Ritornello 5 continued, with emphasis on the determined banishment of B Minor 00:00:56
27.   Cue to complete performance of First Movement 00:00:46
28.   First Movement (complete) 00:06:19
  Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G - Second Movement
29.   Introduction: Rhythmic Motif provides basis for whole movement 00:01:17
30.   The melody not much to write home about; nor is the meek 'answer' offered by the soloists 00:00:14
31.   Putting the two together, thereby establishing a relationship 00:00:21
32.   Contrast and syncopation - their relationship in opening section 00:02:18
33.   Listening from the 'botton up' 00:02:48
34.   The intertwining and alternation of solo and orchestra; the irregularity of metrical groupings 00:02:14
35.   The next orchestral phrase; slowing the pace but not the tempo 00:00:28
36.   The First Section (complete) 00:01:36
37.   The next section; foreground symmetry and background variety 00:01:29
38.   The central section's groupings are hugely asymmetrical 00:01:12
39.   Cue to Second Movement as a whole 00:00:11
40.   Second Movement (complete) 00:03:17
  Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G - Third Movement
41.   Introduction to the Third Movement... 00:04:57
42.   Fugue subject 00:01:04
43.   First counter - subject 00:00:31
44.   Second counter - subject 00:00:51
45.   Bass entry of the subject 00:00:14
46.   Exposition (complete) 00:00:33
47.   First Episode; the use of fragmentary derivatives 00:00:33
48.   The difference a detail can make! 00:00:15
49.   Harmonic Rhythm defined; back to the beginning to find the seed... 00:01:06
50.   ... and now the blossom 00:00:21
51.   The First Solo Episode; a confusion of terms; onwards, to the introduction of the solo episode 00:01:59
52.   Ritornello 2 complete 00:01:11
53.   Solo Episode 2 dominated by thrilling virtuosity from the solo violin 00:01:47
54.   Ritornello 3: highly contrapuntal and dominated by subject - derivatives, with much harmonic fluidity 00:00:46
55.   Ritornello 3 continues: engine of harmonic motion repeated at higher pitch 00:00:06
56.   More on Ritornello 3: the use of long, sustained, slightly syncopated notes in upper strings 00:00:21
57.   Ritornello 3 (complete) 00:00:31
58.   Solo Episode 3 - less solo than earlier ones, what with (albeit very discreet) 00:00:28
59.   The two recorders converse in canon, accompanied for six exhilarating bars by cello 'continuo' 00:00:22
60.   Finishing Solo Exposition 3: orchestral cellos introduce what sounds 00:00:33
61.   Approaching the final Ritornello; stretto explained 00:00:56
62.   Cue to Finale Ritornello, noting tension - building 'pedal point' in cellos and double bass 00:01:02
63.   Coda - the 'tail - piece', with its surprising 'hammer strokes' 00:00:58
64.   Cue to Third Movement 00:00:19
65.   Third Movement (complete) 00:04:31


Disc 2

Bach, Johann Sebastian

  Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D - First Movement
1.   Opening Music; analysis and phony analysis; Shaw quote; music: Motif No. 1 00:03:07
2.   Music, energy and relationship 00:00:58
3.   The outlines of a melody emerge 00:00:41
4.   The opening bar again 00:00:25
5.   Motif No. 2: ta / dee - ya, dee - ya, dee - ya 00:00:11
6.   Motif No. 3, and an important feature of its rhythm 00:00:32
7.   Beethoven Fifth Symphony (opening) 00:00:19
8.   Motif No. 4 00:00:12
9.   Motif No. 5 00:00:04
10.   Motif No. 6 00:00:05
11.   Episode 1: a 'Love Duet' 00:01:39
12.   Episode 1 continued; violin and flute reverse direction of their theme 00:01:01
13.   'False' Ritornello; soloists interrupt; rising 'sighing' motif; harpsichord continues downwards 00:00:59
14.   Four things going on at once, in violin, flute, harpsichord right hand, harpsichord left hand 00:00:39
15.   The orchestra returns, picking up at exactly the spot where it was interrupted 00:00:28
16.   The harpsichord intervenes with derivative of Motif 4; key shifts from A Major to B Minor 00:00:25
17.   The orchestra returns to foreground and brings this section to an end 00:00:41
18.   Harpsichord emerges as virtuoso; a series of expectations are frustrated 00:02:32
19.   A backwards look; blurred distinctions between soloists and orchestra; 'Mozartian' development 00:04:35
20.   Out of the Twilight Zone; a sequence of surprises 00:01:57
21.   The epoch - making harpsichord cadenza and the final Ritornello 00:04:50
22.   Cue to First Movement 00:00:52
23.   First Movement (complete) 00:08:59
  Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D - Second Movement
24.   Introduction; the opening Ritornello 00:02:33
25.   The first bar; the first main building block 00:00:16
26.   The flute motif 00:00:16
27.   Opening of the first solo episode 00:01:04
28.   An important motif; the second main building block 00:00:17
29.   The second main theme 00:00:32
30.   Ritornello 2; violin and flute as 'orchestra' 00:00:52
31.   Episode 2; inversion of original motifs 00:00:38
32.   More on Episode 2 00:00:10
33.   Episode 1 and Episode 2 compared 00:00:21
34.   Episode 2; key shifts from D Major to F - Sharp Minor 00:00:49
35.   Ritornello 3: an exact transposition of Ritornello 1 00:00:46
36.   Episode 3 contrasted with Episode 1 00:00:33
37.   Episode 3 described in detail 00:01:05
38.   Ritornello 4; second main theme's first appearance in a Ritornello 00:00:57
39.   Episode 4: dominated by inversions 00:01:34
40.   Cue to Second Movement 00:00:06
41.   Second Movement (complete) 00:05:39
  Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D - Third Movement
42.   Introduction: Ritornello 1 00:00:54
43.   The Fugue Subject: close juxtaposition of contrasting elements 00:01:21
44.   Flute takes the 'answer', with countersubject in the violin 00:00:33
45.   Contrary motion as a contrapuntal device 00:00:23
46.   Contrary motion as a listening aid; a new theme 00:00:31
47.   Playing with the counter - subject; a musical game of tag 00:00:51
48.   Hidden rhythms: background variety behind foreground uniformity 00:00:43
49.   Fugal writing and the compatibility of parts; the Exposition 00:01:35
50.   Episode 1, taken by soloists, contains important 'seeds' 00:00:37
51.   The orchestra enters at last, but by stealth 00:01:19
52.   Stretto and musical football 00:01:02
53.   Key changes to B Minor, introducing extensive Middle Section 00:01:24
54.   The Middle Section a precursor of the Mozartian 'development' 00:03:05
55.   The Fugue Subject out in force: first four immediately consecutive entries yet 00:01:51
56.   Ambiguity of mode and a Scottish twist 00:00:38
57.   Middle Section sontinued; harpsichord dominates 00:02:10
58.   Cue to Last Movement 00:00:19
59.   Last Movement (complete) 00:04:55

Total Playing Time: 02:31:18






Composer(s):
Bach, Johann Sebastian

Reader(s):
Siepmann, Jeremy

Label: Naxos Educational

Genre: Music Education

Period: Baroque

Catalogue No: 8.558055-56

Barcode: 0636943805527

Physical Release: 04/2002

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