Music History is Thrilling!

Baroque Concerto and Johann Sebastien Bach


Solo concerto
The Baroque Concerto was based on opposition. The solo concerto was when a solo instrument played against the orchestra (the ripieno). The violin was the most frequently used instrument in the solo concerto. The formal structure was usually built on three movements: fast, slow, fast
Concerto grosso
The concerto grosso was based on the opposition between a solo group of instruments (the concertino) and the orchestra (the ripieno)
The small group of instrumentalists which play against the orchestra in concerto grosso is known as the concertino
The ripieno is the larger group of instrumentalists in the concerto grosso
Ritornello form
Features a theme, the ritornello, in the ripieno which continues to reappear throughout the work, always in the ripieno

Johann Sebastien Bach (1685-1750)

As Bach was virtuosic organist he wrote many pieces for the instrument including chorale preludes, chorale variations, toccatas, fantasias, and a collection of preludes and fugues (The Well Tempered Clavier). His contrapuntal genius is evident in all his music, especially so in his keyboard fugues. He was a devoutly religious man which is evident in his vocal music which contains church cantatas and oratorios (St. Matthew’s Passion).  He also wrote a mass, which is too grand in scale for the cathedral but must be enjoyed in the concert hall. He also composed some secular cantatas including the “Coffee” Cantata. His lyricism is heard in his instrumental music including the six concertos which he dedicated to the Margrave of Brangdenburg.

“Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major BWV 1047″ (First movement only)

The six Brandenburg concertos were written by Bach from 1717-1718 during his time under the employment of the Prince Anhalt-Cothen. The Margrave of Brandenburg paid a visit to the prince during which he had the opportunity of hearing Bach perform and commissioned the composer to write these concertos for him. The collection of concertos are based on grosso form in which two groups of instruments vie with each other. The second concerto had three movements in which the concertino was made up of a violin, oboe, recorder, and trumpet


I Movement.

Tempo: Allegro Meter: 2/2 Key: F major Form: Ritornello The character of this lively movement is assertive and bright. Contrast is achieved within the movement by having the two groups of instruments, ripieno and concertino, vie with each other. Ritornello 1. Full ensemble, full eight measure statement Concertino. Solo violin, brief statement Ritornello 2. Full ensemble, short statement Concertino. Oboe and violin, short statement Ritornello 3. Modulates to C major, Full ensemble, short statement Concertino. Recorder and oboe, short statement Ritornello 4. Full ensemble, short statement Concertino. Trumpet and recorder Ritornello 5. Full ensemble, six measure statement Concertino. Trumpet, violin, recorder, and oboe, short statement Ritornello 6. Modulates to D minor, Full ensemble, long statement featuring exchanges between instruments ending with cellos Concertino. Trumpet, violin, recorder, and oboe, each play their own short statement _________ Modulatory section in the ripieno featuring exchanges between instruments Ritornello 7. Returns to F major, Full ensemble, final statement

All information on this article is derived from: Joseph Machlis and Kristine Forney. The Enjoyment of Music, Eight Edition, Standard Version, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999.
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Yo, I would just like to say thank you so much for this great website, honestly, i dont find music history all that boring, its pretty funny actually. haha. anyway, u have a site for history 5 yet? No rush, just asking.


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