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Brandenburg Concertos

Brandenburg Concertos. Bach's 6 ‘Concerti Grossi’ for various combinations. Dedicated to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg (1721) but it appears they were never played for him. They are as follows:1 F Major. 2 hn., 3 ob., and bn., str. (incl. Violino Piccolo, i.e. small vn.), hpd.2 †F Major. In 2 groups, plus Continuo—(a) Concertino: tpt., fl., ob., vn.; (b) Ripieno: str.; (c) hpd.3 G Major. 3 groups of str. (each vn., va., vc.), db., and hpd.(4) †G Major. In 2 groups, plus Continuo—(a) Concertino: vn. and 2 fl.; (b)Ripieno: str.; (c) hpd.(5) †D major. In 2 groups, plus Continuo—(a) Concertino: hpd., fl., vn.; (b) Ripieno: str. (no 2nd vns.); (c) hpd. for the continuo.(6) B♭ Major. (No vns.) 2 va., 2 viole da gamba, vc., hpd.

It will be seen that the 3 marked † are true Concerti Grossi in the traditional style of contrasting groups. No.3 has only 2 movements and there is considerable scholastic speculation on the ‘missing’ middle movement. Presumably the works were comp. for Cöthen court orch. Bach's title for them was Concerts avec plusieurs instruments.

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