Brandenburg Concerto No 3




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Published on Jun 29, 2015

Title: "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3"
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1721)
Derived from a MIDI sequence by Daniel L. Viens (1999)
(MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
Instrument: Hauptwerk Player Organ
from: My own CODM organ
(CODM stands for Custom Organ Design Module)

Here is another of those incredible compositions by J.S. Bach. What a delight!

I first heard it years ago on the phonograph recording of "Switched On Bach" by W. Carlos. It was an "eye-opener" for me. I had never heard all the parts in a Bach composition so clearly. I loved it!

So now, I'm using this Hauptwerk Player Organ as a synthesizer which uses pipe organ ranks as samples rather than orchestral instruments. The MIDI file states that it comes from the Conductor's Score. Here is how I routed the original instrument tracks:

Violin #1: keyboard #7, and Violins #'s 2 and 3: keyboard #4
Viola #1: keyboard #6, and Violas #'s 2 and 3: keyboard #3
Cello #1: keyboard #5, and Cellos #'s 2 and 3: keyboard #2
Basso Continuo and harpsichord parts go to the Pedals.

Of course, organ ranks don't come across sounding like strings. An organ this size has a much bigger dynamic range and can provide many different "colors" of sound. In truth, this is not a "Bach-like" performance, but who knows, maybe if this kind of big Romantic-style instrument were available to Bach, he may have enjoyed using it. The organ version can't in any way replace the beauty of the original string orchestra version! But, it adds a different perspective.

From Wikipedia:
The Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 1046–1051, original title: Six Concerts à plusieurs instruments) are a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721 (though probably composed earlier). They are widely regarded as some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era.

Title on autograph score: Concerto 3zo a tre Violini, tre Viole, è tre Violoncelli col Basso per il Cembalo
1. [no tempo indication] (usually performed at Allegro or Allegro moderato)
2. Adagio
3. Allegro

Instrumentation: three violins, three violas, three cellos, and basso continuo (including harpsichord)

Duration: About 10 minutes

The second movement consists of a single measure with the two chords that make up a 'Phrygian half cadence' and—although there is no direct evidence to support it—it was likely that these chords are meant to surround or follow a cadenza improvised by a harpsichord or violin player. Modern performance approaches range from simply playing the cadence with minimal ornamentation (treating it as a sort of "musical semicolon"), to inserting movements from other works, to cadenzas varying in length from under a minute to over two minutes. Wendy Carlos's three electronic performances (from Switched-On Bach, Switched-On Brandenburgs, and Switched-On Bach 2000) have second movements that are completely different from each other.

(Headphones will give the best listening results.)


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