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Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G major, BWV1048


The third concerto comes closest to fulfilling the ‘agreement’ definition of the concerto, with the opening movement comprising the interplay of the three choirs of three violins, violas and cellos and the last retaining the format of three violins and violas but with the cellos consolidated with the continuo. What is sacrificed in terms of solo virtuosity is amply compensated by the fleet interplay of forces, a kaleidoscopic celebration of the entire violin family.

The first movement is loosely based on the type of da capo form associated with sonatas. But here there is also an overall sense of dramatic intensification during the course of the movement, and the return of the opening section is modified with new gestures and some unexpected turns of event. The two cadential chords constituting the second movement (‘Adagio’) certainly do not refer to a piece that has since been lost since they come on the middle of a page in the presentation autograph. Perhaps, given the complexity and intensity of the movements on either side, they should be played precisely as they stand, as if the slow movement has simply vaporised. Or perhaps, in the manner of Handel’s later organ concertos, they signify a solo improvisation. There is certainly a sense throughout the collection that Bach played on the expectations and conventions of concerto writing, and here is an opportunity to render this movement in a number of different ways.

The third movement is, unusually for Bach’s finales, a piece in binary form with each of the two halves repeated. Here there is a definite element of virtuosity, but transferred from the customary soloist to the entire ensemble. Never again in the history of the concerto has there been such a piece that maintains the dazzle of the concerto idiom without profiling a single soloist.

from notes by John Butt © 2013

Le Concerto brandebourgeois nº 3 est la version originale de la Sinfonia d’introduction de la Cantate BWV174. À un moment donné, bien que non nécessairement dès le tout début, il semble ne faire aucun doute qu’il y ait eu pour Bach une dimension trinitaire dans ce magnifique Concerto composé selon des normes inhabituellement démocratiques pour une trinité de trinités: trois violons, trois altos et trois violoncelles, donnant à chacune d’elles la chance de partager les feux de la rampe.

extrait des notes rédigées par Sir John Eliot Gardiner © 2008
Français: Michel Roubinet

Da für Pfingstdienstag nur zwei Kantaten erhalten sind, beschlossen wir, unser Programm mit dem Brandenburgischen Konzert Nr. 3 zu eröffnen, der Originalfassung der Sinfonia zu Beginn von BWV174. Irgendwann, nicht unbedingt gleich zu Beginn, wird klar, dass Bach dieses wunderbare Konzert mit der Dreieinigkeit assoziierte. Es ist für eine Dreiheit von Dreiheiten komponiert—drei Violinen, drei Bratschen und drei Celli—, die auf ungewöhnlich demokratische Weise abwechselnd Gelegenheit erhalten, im Rampenlicht zu stehen.

aus dem Begleittext von Sir John Eliot Gardiner © 2008
Deutsch: Gudrun Meier


Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Studio Master: SDG707Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: Cantatas Nos 129, 165, 175, 176, 184 & 194
SDG138Download only
Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos
CDD220012CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 3 - Friedman, Grainger & Murdoch


Movement 1: [Allegro]
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 2: Adagio [Movement 3: Largo from Violin Sonata in G major, BWV1021]
Track 9 on CDD22001 CD1 [1'55] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Movement 3: Allegro

Track-specific metadata for CDD22001 disc 1 track 10

Recording date
13 October 1991
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1, 2 & 3 (CDA66611)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: September 1992
    Deletion date: September 1996
    Superseded by CDD22001
  2. Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos (CDA66711/2)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: September 1992
    Deletion date: September 1996
    2CDs Superseded by CDD22001
  3. Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos (CDD22001)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: September 1996
    2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
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