Programme Notes

JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto no 2 in F major BWV 1047

JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto no 2 in F major BWV 1047
Arranged for flutes by Carla Rees

Like much of Bach’s instrumental music, the Brandenburg Concertos were written during the Cöthen period (1717-1723), when Bach had access to a highly accomplished orchestra. At that time, Bach was working in a Calvinist court, where there was no requirement for elaborate church music (a stark contrast from his work in Leipzig, where he was responsible for the music in three different churches), so he used the time to concentrate on instrumental music.

The six Brandenburg concertos form a collection of works for different combinations of solo instruments, many of which are quite unusual groupings. The original instrumentation of this concerto was high trumpet (or perhaps horn, since the writing is unusually high for the trumpet), flute, oboe and violin solo with strings and continuo. The solo group, of four instruments of roughly the same pitch tessitura, is heard against the accompanying string orchestra. The three movements are in fast, slow, fast format, with a fugue in the last movement.

In this arrangement for flutes, the trumpet part is taken on by a piccolo, which is capable of a similarly bright and penetrating sound.

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