Edited: June 9, 2020, 4:02 AM ·
I probably played the first and second movements on the oboe when I was a teenager then didn't listen to it again until the other week, when I suddenly realised it was appended to my CDs of the Brandenburg concertos. I had no idea it was a double concerto. Either I had forgotten, or I didn't give a tinker's cuss about the violin back then, or, more likely, the violin part seems almost non-existent. Gidon Kremer really takes a back seat to Holliger in that recording, except for bits of the second movement.
I suspect that the modern oboe and overlarge orchestra swamp the violin part, and HIP would bring it more to the fore? Or is it just a naff piece from the violinist's pov? I've ordered the sheet music - Breitkopf do it cheap. I can also revisit the oboe part on the flute, or the violin.

Replies (14)

June 9, 2020, 6:50 AM ·

Fabulous performance by teenage soloists and orchestra.

At that age, I was unloading freight trains at a food distribution warehouse and watching cities burn from race riots and war protests.

Yet another sign, despite recent troubles, that the world is a much better place than the one I grew up in.

If the piece is not actually part of the Brandenburg Concertos, it could easily be mistaken for one, the style is so similar.

June 9, 2020, 9:08 AM · Ideally the answer to everything wouldn't be microphones!
June 9, 2020, 10:08 AM · This concerto is for 2 harpsichords and strings. Someone in the 20th century hypothesized that Bach transcribed it from a concerto originally intended for oboe and violin that has not survived. This person then "reconstructed" that supposed original and it has become quite popular.

Do not blame Bach for any weaknesses you find in the score!

June 9, 2020, 10:48 AM · I haven't played the solo part, so can't comment on that. When I was in grad school, though, I was in an orchestra that did perform with two students. Based on that experience, I'd say it is deceptively difficult; the violinist ended up making some unexpected goofs in performance. All the more reason to be courteous to your collaborators, so they can help you out when necessary.

Apart from difficulty (or lack thereof), it's a pretty good piece even it isn't completely idiomatic.

June 10, 2020, 1:37 AM · I agree, it is a pretty good piece. Not quite as accomplished as Bach's "real" violin concertos or the double concerto but still. As to difficulty: it is neither easier nor more difficult than those.
June 10, 2020, 4:51 AM ·
The two solo harpsichord parts have different figurations, which led to the hypothesis of an oboe/violin original; Bach often transcribed violin concertos for keyboard.(Beethoven even added a left hand part to to turn his violin concerto into a piano concerto!)
The two-harpsichord original is in C minor, and the oboe/violin reconstruction is published in either C minor or D minor.
I even have a recording of a viola/bassoon version!
Edited: June 10, 2020, 10:51 AM · I disagree with Albrecht. I think the two triplet passages you get in the violin part of the last movement are more difficult technically than what you find in BWV1043 (I think I've played the violin part somewhat more frequently than I've played the oboe part. I've only ever seen it in D minor). My father said of the 2nd triplet passage, "This is clearly harpsichord music". But then he said of Brahms Op 120 No 1 "This is clarinet music" - Well, I admit I find those arpeggios in the first movement extremely difficult to play on a viola as they should be played: An arpeggio on a beat, when played on a clarinet, emphasises that beat, whereas a string player tends to make an upward arpeggio emphasise the note that follows it. Sorry for straying!
June 10, 2020, 2:36 PM · May I request something here: Please do not allude to piece just with a BWV (or K. etc.) number. I am getting tired of looking it up. All that is needed is the genre and the key (i.e. violin concerto in E Major rather than or in addition to BWVXXX) and every violinist knows who the piece is.
June 10, 2020, 2:54 PM · I agree with Albrecht
June 10, 2020, 3:56 PM · Looking up a BWV or Köchel number is not such a frightful hardship.

What if I referred you to Mozart's C-Major piano sonata? He wrote four of them!

About the video that Carmen linked -- the oboe tends to stand out more against the fabric of the string orchestra so it's easy for one's ear to gravitate to that part, but I thought the young violinist really played well too. When you see such a video you know classical music has a bright future.

Edited: June 11, 2020, 6:57 AM · "Looking up a BWV or Köchel number is not such a frightful hardship."

John, did your father also comment that the slow movement was written to be played in third position on the violin?

Edited: June 11, 2020, 7:13 AM · Never mind Wikipedia - looking up K numbers is as quick as google. I just randomly chose "K487" and up came "12 horn duos K487/496a". The other way round seems pretty reliable too
Edited: June 15, 2020, 5:55 AM · He didn't, Gordon, no, but do you mean that it definitey sounds best if you stick to the third position, or merely that you can manage all the notes in the third position without awkward string crossings?
Edited: June 15, 2020, 9:23 AM · the latter (having said that, I have a suspicion I was looking at a C minor arrangement when I thought that, not a D minor one)

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