Printer-friendly version weekend vote: What is your favorite movement of the Bach Double?

The Weekend Vote

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Published: November 7, 2014 at 5:55 PM [UTC]

I love the Bach Double, any movement.

I still remember being a student and trying to pick out the first movement of Bach's Concerto in D minor for Two Violins by ear, before I was ready to play it. Most violin students play the first movement at some point; I was not a Suzuki student but I studied both the Violin 1 and Violin 2 first-movement parts, which also appear in Suzuki Books 4 and 5. Once I could play one part, I was always happy to find someone who could play the other, so we could launch into a duet before rehearsal, etc. It's alway fun to instigate a spontaneous Bach Double!

BachIn the early days, that piece was a little hard to put together, and I can remember that getting to the end without a train wreck was a major victory. Many years later, after playing it with so many students on so many occasions, it's pretty solidly wired for me! But it never gets old, and I'm still game for the ride. Ask me to play that piece with you, I'll happily oblige.

What's too bad is that not everyone plays all three movements! In fact, students are sometimes surprised to learn that there is more to it than that ubiquitous first movement. The second movement is one of the most beautiful slow movements written for violin(s), and the last movement is a rollicking ride. I have a few students studying the last movement now, and playing the duet with each (so that they can play it easily with each other) is one of the most enjoyable parts of my week!

Which movement do you most enjoy, in the Bach Double? You can answer from a playing standpoint, a wanting-to-play standpoint, or a listening standpoint.

I've put together some Youtubes for your listening pleasure, to help you vote:

1. Vivace

Here we have husband-and-wife team Gil Shaham and Adele Anthony, from SWINGING BACH 2000 Live from the Marketplace in Leipzig:

2. Largo, ma non tanto

This movement would be gorgeous played on any instrument, but I thought you might enjoy this period-instrument version with Carla Moore and Cynthia Miller Freivogel, solo baroque violins, with Voices of Music:

3. Vivace

Here's a performance with a lot of spark by sister-brother team Lara St. John and Scott St. John; they are playing with the New York Bach Ensemble:

* * *

And just for fun -- those Time for Three guys! Nick Kendall, Zach De Pue and Ranaan Meyer play their jazzed-up version of the Bach Double first movement:

Posted on November 7, 2014 at 6:50 PM
Oh gosh. It's impossible to pick. The first movement has been a favorite since learning it way back when. I'm with you - I never get tired of playing it! It's such fun to start spontaneously at orchestra rehearsals.

The second movement is gorgeous, and the third movement is just ridiculously fun. I've read through both of them for fun. :) Unfortunately, I haven't found anyone with whom to work up the full thing. Would love to do all three movements on my senior recital, though, simply because this piece is amazing and has been one of my favorite pieces forever (and it'd be a good excuse to get to play the other two movements...). I have a year and a half to talk a friend or one of my teachers (past/present) into doing it with me... :)

Also: Speaking of the 2nd movement, have you ever heard 2Cellos do it? I know, I know, it's a violin piece... I was a bit upset that they did it, but then I listened to it, and it's far too gorgeous to be angry with them! (And hey, turnabout's fair play, we've stolen a bunch from the cello repertoire. :) Actually, some of my favorite Suzuki songs were originally for cello. My cellist friends chuckle when I say that...)


Posted on November 8, 2014 at 2:22 AM
A few years ago I watched a program on PBS in which Gil Shaham played the third movement with then ten-year-old Alice Ivy Pemberton. She was SO amazing!! That's been my favorite movement since then -- although I dearly love the entire concerto!
From Paul Deck
Posted on November 8, 2014 at 3:25 AM
I went with the finale just because its not so badly overplayed. There is a video on youtube of the whole concerto with Vengerov and Gringolts, very good playing I think.

The second movement is very lovely but is rather disproportionately long. I realize I'm criticizing the work of the greatest composer ever, but maybe he did not intend the slow tempos that one often hears. Ma non tanto!!

Posted on November 8, 2014 at 10:36 PM
I can't decide. I'd like to tick all three choices, but that's not allowed ):
Posted on November 9, 2014 at 12:02 AM
The second movement of course - one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written!
From Jim Hastings
Posted on November 9, 2014 at 5:49 PM
I like the whole work. I voted for the first movement, thinking of it from a player's viewpoint. This movement is the one I most identify with on the intellectual and emotional levels, so it's the one I feel most like sharing with listeners.
From Charlie Gibbs
Posted on November 10, 2014 at 6:19 PM
I chose the second movement, but it was difficult, considering how much I've tried to work up the first one. But the second movement is just so darned pretty!

I had never really looked at the third movement, but recently a friend persuaded me to try it with her (with my wife playing the continuo on her cello). Complicated and challenging - and definitely worth putting more time into.

Like you, I welcome any excuse to suck someone into playing it.

From Nicky Paxton
Posted on November 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM
I voted for the last movement from a listening point of view, but I'd vote for the second movement from a playing point of view - it's such a beautiful piece that one can get really taken up into the music.

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