Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 2. Affettuoso

By: Johann S. Bach
For: String quartet
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Composer
Johann S. Bach
Year of composition
1721
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
5 minutes
Genre
Classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Johann Sebastian Bach most likely completed his Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050, in 1721. This work is the fifth of six concertos the composer dedicated to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg. The offering was likely a sort of application for employment; Bach got no response, but these pieces have become some of his best-known material. Every one of the concertos is distinct, as are the composer's sets of suites and partitas. Hearing the fifth concerto in the context of the rest of the set makes it clear that, apart from Bach's inimitable strength as a contrapuntist, the key to his ability to make music that is both sublime and entertaining lies in the fact that in his hands, everything is elastic. No other composer of the Baroque era could write through the constraints of form as if it was not there at all. Bach saw more options than anyone else, in form and in influence. The way he blended the Italian sound into his own in these concertos ennobled both Italian and German music. The scope of his vision and his relentless invention, making everything he wrote new, frustrates any attempt at comparison.

This fifth concerto is scored for flute, solo violin, obbligato harpsichord, and strings. It is the only one of the six pieces to have any solo material given to the harpsichord, which is part of the continuo throughout the other works, filling out the harmonies. What is quite bizarre and beautiful about the opening movement is the way the solo instruments and string ensemble seem to be muscling in on each other's musical functions. More specifically, the ritornello is almost carried away by the soloists although it is normally the territory of the tutti ensemble. The harpsichord seems to be holding the work together, and there are episodes in the second half of the movement where everything has ground to a halt except for the harpsichord. At the end of the movement, the other soloists actually support the free-flowing harpsichord line. It is a sort of divide-and-conquer movement, with tutti versus soloists, and also soloists against soloists. The harpsichord wins. No one wrote music with this sort of free play of function before Bach.

The following two movements, briefer than the first, form an admirable contrast. The second movement is for soloists only, somber and cooperative. Though it is intimate and free of the first movement's tension, it is the most concerto-like movement in the traditional sense. This is a colossal irony, considering how the tensions of the concerto form were exploded in the first, which is as much a departure from the form as it is an adherent. The final movement is a charming dance, a lively gigue with fugal powers.

This arrangements is for standard string quartet.

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Holberg Suite - 2. Sarabande, Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 3, Concerto for Two Violins "L'estro armonico" Op.3 No.8 - Movement 1, Siegfried Idyll, Brook Green Suite - 3. Dance, Symphony No.25 - 2. Andante, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 - 3. Allegro, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 6. Theme and variations, Morning Has Broken, Symphony No.29 - 2. Andante, Habanera from "Carmen", Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 3. Adagio, Sextet: Chi mi frena, from "Lucia di Lammermoor", O soave fanciulla, from "La boheme", Si. Mi chiamano Mimi, from "La boheme", Duet: Sous le dome epais, from "Lakme", Largo al factotum, from "The Barber of Seville", Serenade No.10 , Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix, from "Samson et Dalila", Song to the Moon, from "Rusalka", Song Without Words No.30 - Spring Song Op.62 No.6, Water Music Suite No.1 in F, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 2. Menuetto and Trio, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 2. Adagio cantabile, Sonata "Pathetique" Op.13 - 1. Grave - Allegro, Sonata in A, KV 331 - 1. Andante grazioso (Theme and variations), Chanson de Matin, Lullay My Liking, Anvil Chorus, from "Il Trovatore", Bethena - A Concert Waltz, A Cyclone in Darktown, Serenade No.10 "Gran Partita" - 2. Menuetto; Trio 1; Trio 2, Trio No.3, Trio No.1, The Flight of the Bumble Bee, Christians, Awake!, Little Jesus, Sweetly Sleep, Gradual, L'Estate ("Summer") - 2. Adagio, Presto, L'Estate ("Summer") - 1. Allegro non molto, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 7. Badinerie, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 5. Polonaise and Double, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 4. Bourree I and II, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 3. Sarabande, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 2. Rondeau, Orchestral Suite No.2 - 1. Overture, The Marriage of Figaro - Overture, A Thousand And One Nights, The Cannon Ball Rag, The Stars And Stripes Forever, Semper Fidelis, The Manhattan Beach March, King Cotton, The High School Cadets, The Gladiator March, El Capitan, Jingle Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem (2), Joy To The World, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, Good King Wenceslas, The First Noel, Angels From The Realms of Glory, Symphony No.29 - 4. Allegro con spirito, Of The Father's Love Begotten, Symphony No.29 - 3. Menuetto, Symphony No.25 - 4. Allegro, Symphony No.29 - 1. Allegro moderato, Who Let The Cows Out? - For Sax Quartet (AATB), Symphony No.25 - 3. Menuetto, Slavonic Dance, Op.72 No.2, L'Autunno ("Autumn") - 3. Allegro, Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto, Carmen - Act 1: Prelude, Sleepy Sidney, I Got The Blues, Who Let The Cows Out?, Key-Stone Rag, Orchestral Suite No.3 - 4. Bourree, God Save The Queen, Symphonie Fantastique - 2. Un Bal, Pavane, Op.50, La Marseillaise, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.8, Slavonic Dance, Op.46 No.7, Ode To Joy, The Barber of Seville - Overture, William Tell - Overture, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, Trumpet Tune, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 3. Allegro assai, Brandenburg Concerto No.2 - 2. Andante, Lohengrin - The Bridal Chorus, Solomon - Act III, Sinfonia "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", Rosamunde - Ballet Music No.2, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Children's Corner, No.6 The Golliwog's Cake-Walk, Brandenburg Concerto No.6 - 2. Adagio ma non tanto, Symphony No.40 - 4. Allegro assai, Symphony No.40 - 3. Menuetto, Symphony No.40 - 2. Andante, Ave Maria, Op.52 No.6, The Nutcracker - Overture, Preludes, Book 1 No.8 - The Girl With The Flaxen Hair, A Midsummer Night's Dream Op.61 "The Wedding March", Radetzky March, Op.228, Chanson Triste, Op.40 No.2, Minute Waltz, Op.64 No.1, Symphony No.40 - 1. Allegro molto, Kinderszenen, Op.15 No.11 Furchtenmachen (Frightening), Song Without Words No.45 - Scherzo Op.102 No.3, La Damnation de Faust - Rakoczy March and Birthday Minuet

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