On Tuesday afternoon, January 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm, I attended the Dallas Bach Society 35th Anniversary Concert, performing the Brandenburg Concertos at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas. This particular concert featured various musicians including: Clare Cason, James Andrewes, Mary-Elise McNeeley(Baroque Violin), Alisa Rata Stutzbach, Stephanie Ruby, Tamara Meredith(Baroque Viola), Christopher Phillpott, David Cason, John Walters(Baroque Cello), John Walters, Stuart Cheney(Viola da Gamba), Randy Inman(Violone), Tamara Meredith(Baroque Flute), MaryAnn Shore, William Thauer, Sung Lee(Baroque Oboes and Recorders), Kelsey Schilling(Baroque Bassoon), James Wilson, Burke Anderson(Natural Horn), and Josh Cohen(Natural Trumpet in F). Scholars believe that Concertos 1, 3, and 6 might have been written at a much earlier in comparison to the others, possibly dating from Bach’s time in The Weimar Republic (1708-1714), while Concertos 2, 4, and 5 seemingly came from Cöthen, however, all compositions being composed during the Baroque Era circa 1600 to 1750. Additionally, a similarity between the Brandenburg Conciertos is the use of three movements, fast-slow-fast concept, indicating the compositions were based on Italian concierto composition. Brandenburg Concerto 1 is, the typical fast-slow-fast arrangement of Italian concertos: allegro, adagio, allegro are indicated. However, the final two movements are added dance movements, anomaulous of a concerto or concerto grosso at this time.Brandenburg Concerto 2 consists of the first oboe, violin, recorder, strings, and continuo, which violin, recorder, and oboe dominate melodically. The strings are assigned to an altogether supportive role, and the horn most definitely transforms the timbre and feel of the movement.
A minuet and trio follow shortly after to slow the flow of the piece, and give a touch of grace to the concierto. A repeated figure heard throughout the third movement by the horn, also plays a significant role in the minuet, presenting coherence beyond the two movements. The trio is specifically reeds, presenting a lighter texture and prominent timbral assortment to the concierto. In this short piece, one doesn’t get to hear much sequencing, however some development and repetition of individual rhythms are present.
A plethora of joys was implemented by intertwining pairs of musicians- particularly the trumpet-oboe-violin-recorder combination to produce a most diverse concertino group.