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Concerto for violin in A minor, BWV1041

'Bach: Violin Concertos' (CDH55347)
Bach: Violin Concertos
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55347  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: [Allegro moderato]
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Allegro assai

Concerto for violin in A minor, BWV1041
Whilst still at Weimar Bach had assimilated the Venetian concerto style by transcribing concertos by Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), and all his surviving violin concertos make use of the Vivaldian three-movement form and elements of Vivaldi’s standard ritornello structure. The first movement of the Violin Concerto in A minor (BWV1041) is a typical example of this: the form is based on an alternation of a tutti ritornello with episodes, where the solo instrument predominates and introduces virtuoso new material. The central Andante takes as its basis an ostinato theme, heard throughout the movement in the bass instruments (and at one point taken over by the violas), whilst the remaining strings provide an accompaniment to the soloist’s expressive, winding melody. In the last movement Bach combines fugal writing with ritornello form: the ritornello is in itself a complete fugal exposition which contrasts very effectively with the solo episodes. These range from the lyrical to a passage of ‘bariolage’ in the last episode, where the soloist rapidly alternates between open and stopped strings to produce broken chords. In this case the use throughout the passage of an open E string, sounding much brighter than the other stopped strings, and itself the dominant of A minor, makes for an exciting build-up into the final complete ritornello. For this last movement, a return to Bach’s manuscript produced a different bowing to the usual slurred-in-threes: this considerably lightens the texture, and has been included in this performance.

from notes by Robert King © 1989

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66380 track 8
Recording date
2 May 1989
Recording venue
St Paul's Church, New Southgate, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: Violin Concertos (CDA66380)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: November 1989
    Deletion date: December 2007
    Superseded by CDH55347
  2. Bach: Violin Concertos (CDH55347)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: August 2009
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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