Historical Development of Violin Concertos (I) – Bach’s Violin Concerto in E Major

Source: “Bach E Major Concerto Reconsidered” by Wilfrid Pook in: http://www.jstor.org/stable/730637

Review: Author introduces article with historical background of concerto. He emphasizes that E Major concerto has a harpsichord version. ‘’The survival of this work, both in its original form for the violin and as it appears in a transcription for the harpsichord…’’

He analyzes notation, rhythmic patterns, articulation and musical dynamics of concerto.

Comments on and the analysis of the concerto: Bach had influenced from Italian composers such as Corelli who used  at the first time‘’ concerto grosso term’’.

First movement of concerto begins with three notes arpeggio in Mi Major. This basic motive develops and constitutes first movement with variations of it.

Concerto’s form has features of Baroque period. It has ritornello part that comes after solo section and it has some similarities with da capo aria form which is quite popular in baroque period. It has three sections as ternary. After second section, first section is repeated as a third section. In addition it has tutti and solo sections like concerto grosso

Pook states that ‘’this movement the transcription follows the original version exactly except for passages that have been completely remodelled to suit keyboard technique.’’
In addition to this, it is in rondo form.

Question:  How is technical difficulty of E Major Concerto among Bach’s all violin compositions?

Among Bach’s all violin compositions, E Major Violin Concerto has not so much difficulty as his solo compositions. According to my opinion, Bach did not consider concerto as a solo composition. Analyzing of Bach solo partitas and sonatas shows that solo violin compositions have more difficult technique.  Concertos form has similarities with Brandenburg Concertos which is a concerto grosso model(Tutti and Solo sections).

Critique of the article: Author of text describe concerto’s dynamics, information about notation and some  rhythmic pattern of motives. According to my opinion, author should have done more analysis of form of concerto. He also should have analyzed violin technique.


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