This is the most clearly defined presentation of the ritornello

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1 Analysis Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 1 st Movement As discussed in previous sections, Bach s structure for the Brandenburg concertos is not as evident as the archetype used by Vivaldi. This is especially true for his second concerto. In the first movement the differentiations between solo/ritornello and solo/tutti are unclear. Abundant sections of counterpoint contribute to blur these boundaries. Some passages could be labeled as ritornello or solo depending point of view taken. For the same reason the suggested structure below needs to be taken only as a general idea. Measur Section e 1-8 Ritornello (Tutti) F Major Description This is the most clearly defined presentation of the ritornello The ritornello has several components. The main motive (we will call it Motive A) is played by flute, oboe, violin soloist, and violin I in unison, and violin II in thirds. Motive A The second motive (we will call it Motive B) is played by lower strings (m 1-2). This element will return later during the movement. Motive B Probably due to idiomatic challenges, trumpet is not in unison with

2 other soloist at the beginning of the ritornello. However, at m. 2⁴ the trumpet introduces an ascending motive (imitated by second violins) that will return in the movement. Another approach to analyze this ritornello is to follow the system created by Wilhelm Fischer. Here are the three sections of the ritornello according to Fischer s system: Initial statement (Vordersatz) Spinning Out (Fortspinnung) Ending (Epilogue) 8⁴ to 22 Solo (Alternatio n between short sections of solo and ritornello/ ripieno) The two first solos (violin at 8⁴ and oboe at 12⁴) are exactly the same. In the following example you will see both solos (one on top of the other) for comparison.. These solos could be traced in terms of melodic contour to sections from the ritornello (m. 6⁴). In the following example you will see the solo and the section of

3 ritornello (one on top of the other) for comparison. 22⁴ Ritornello Tutti C major 10⁴-12: Tutti (Head of ritornello) 12⁴-14: Oboe solo 14⁴-16: Tutti (Head of ritornello). Dominant of F. Trumpet solo takes the second element of the ritornello. 16⁴-18: Flute solo. Similar to previous solos but transposed to the dominant. 18⁴-20: Tutti (Head of ritornello). Dominant of F. Trumpet solo takes the second element of the ritornello. 20⁴-22: Trumpet solo. Similar to solo flute at 16⁴. With exception of its initial statement, Ritornello II is a close transposition of Ritornello I. In here played by soloists (without trumpet) and violin I ripieno (m. 22⁴). In the following example you will see violin part of Ritornello I and Ritornello II (one on top of the other) for comparison.

4 28⁴ Solo Trumpet solo. Similar to solo flute at 16⁴ but transposed a perfect 4 th above. 30⁴ Ritornello Tutti D minor This ritornello has elements from Ritornello 1: Motive A : violin solo and higher strings The cello presents the Motive B of Ritornello I (transposed to d minor) and doubled in thirds by flute (with some contrary motion). 32³ Solo A dialogue imitation between trumpet and oboe begins

5 36 Ritornello D minor While viola and violone have also a dialogue doubling fragments of the cello part (beginning at 32⁴). At m. 33 suspensions in the violin ripieno part. The semiquaver movement in the cello creates sequences every two beats following a descent of fifths. Diverse elements from Ritornello I appear in a contrapuntal way. Most of them related to to the Spinning Out (Fortspinnung) and Ending (Epilogue) of the ritornello. In the following example you will see both passages (violin part) for comparison. 39⁴ to 47⁴ Solo The section consists of a sequence based on the circle of fifths. The sequence is formed by the following elements: Head of the ritornello (we will call it W ) W Motive B of the ritornello (we will call it X ) X

6 Inversion of X (we will call it Y ). In the following example you will see X and Y one on top of the other for comparison. Y The last element is a fragmentation of the rhythmic figure that predominates in the ritornello (we will call it Z ) Z The sequence includes exchange of elements between the instruments as follows: D minor mm Element Instrument(s) W Trumpet X Oboe, violin solo Y Flute Z Higher strings ripieno G major mm Element Instrument(s) W Flute X Oboe, violin solo Y Trumpet Z Higher strings ripieno C major mm

7 Element W X Y Z Instrument(s) Oboe Violin solo Flute Higher strings ripieno F major mm Element Instrument(s) W Flute X Violone and cello Y Violin solo Z Higher strings ripieno 48 Ritornello Short homophonic section based on the Spinning out (Fortspinnung) of Ritornello (m. 3). 50 Ritornello Another sequence organized around a fragment of the ritornello (m 5). In the following example you will see the section of the original ritornello and the motive used in the sequence (one on top of the other) for comparison. In this passage this motive is played as follows: Measure Instrument Chord 50 Violin solo F7 51 Oboe D7 52 Flute G7 53 Violin solo E7 54 Oboe A7 55 Trumpet F7 56 Violone and Bb cello 57 Violone and cello Bb 58 Ritornello This section is based on the transposition to Bb of parts of the Spinning out (Fortspinnung) and the Ending (Epilogue) of Ritornello. In the following example you will see the section of the original and the motive used in mm (one on top of the other) for comparison.

8 59⁴ Solo This section is similar in material to m. 8⁴. However, in here the different solo entrances are not disrupted by portions of ripieno/ritornello as in the first passage. The passage begins in Bb and each solo is played a 3 rd below in the following order: 67⁴ Ritornello Tutti C minor Measure Instrumen Chord t 59⁴ Flute Bb major 61⁴ Violin G minor 63⁴ Oboe Eb major 65⁴ Trumpet C minor This ritornello is similar to that of 30⁴ with the following elements: Measure Instrument Element 67⁴ Oboe, higher A strings 67⁴ Violone, cello B 67⁴ Flute Partial inversion of motive B (two beats) and then the line follows motive B in thirds At m. 70 dominant pedal in the ripieno (minus violin) 72 Solo A sequence similar to that of m. 50 organized around a fragment of the ritornello (m 5). In this passage this motive is played as follows: Measure Instrument 72 Oboe 73 Flute 74 Violin solo 75 Ritornello The following elements are present: Measure Instrument Element 75 Trumpet, oboe, Initial statement violin ripieno (Vordersatz) 75 Violone, cello b 75 Violin solo Partial inversion of motive b (last two beats) 76³ Solo Similar to 32³: contrapuntal imitation between trumpet and oboe.

9 80 Ritornello Similar to ritornello at m. 36. G minor 83⁴ Solo Similar to 39⁴ but presenting more sophistication. Using the same terminology used while discussing the passage at 39⁴, here are the events beginning at 83⁴: Measure Element Instrument(s) 83⁴ W Oboe 83⁴ X Flute 83⁴ Y Trumpet 85⁴ W¹ Oboe and Flute (the second 16 th note of the measure is a passing note) 87⁴ W Violone, cello Trumpet plays at 88² 88 X Flute, oboe 88 Y Violin solo 88 W Violone, cello At m. 88 there is a stretto between cello/violin and trumpet. 94 Ritornello Stretto imitation of the head of the ritornello as follows: Measure Instrument(s) 93⁴ Flute violin solo 94² Trumpet, oboe While fragmentations of ritornello s a and b are played by orchestra. 95³ Solo Imitative dialogue between flute and violin solo (similar to 32³). 99 Ritornello Intense fragmentation of the opening rhythmic figure of the ritornello. While violone/cello and flute/oboe/violin solo complement each other with the Spinning out (Fortspinnung) and the Ending (Epilogue) of the Ritornello. In the following example you will see the section of the original and section starting at m. 99 (one on top of the other) for comparison.

10 102⁴ Ritornello In this ritornello most of the instruments begin with the Initial statement (Vordersatz) in the original key. The trumpet is the exception but probably due to idiomatic reasons. 107 Solo Sequence similar to solo in m. 50. Based on fragment of the ritornello (m 5). Measure Instrument Chord 107 Violin solo Bb7 108 Oboe G7 109 Flute C7 110 Violin solo A7 111 Oboe D7 112 Flute B dim 113 Violone and C7 cello 114 Violone and cello C7 115 Ritornello Based on Spinning Out (Fortspinnung) and a transformed Ending (Epilogue) of original ritornello.

11 2 nd Movement Compared to the complexity of the outer movements, the second movement offers great simplicity. This comes in part from being more a piece of chamber music than a second movement of a concerto. The movement employs only three soloist (no trumpet) and basso continuo. In terms of structure the whole movement is basically constructed over the opening motive of the violin. One of the prominent aspects of the movement is a series of cadences (clearly indicated with the interruption of the rhythmic pattern in the continuo) that indicate the different keys and sections of the movement. Measure Section Description 1³ Section I D minor Opening motive in the violin solo. Over a basso continue line 3³ Entrance of the oboe with the same motive presented by the violin at m 1³. The violin line creates a countermelody to the entrance of the oboe. 5³ Entrance of the flute with the same motive presented previously by violin at m 1³ and oboe at 3³. In this case the entrance of the flute is an octave higher The oboe takes the counter melody previously played by the violin. 7³ Flute presents a figure that is a variation of the original motive. The presence of B natural announces the key of A minor. In the following example both motives are presented (one on top of the other) for comparison. 11³ Opening motive played in thirds by violin and oboe (partial). 14 Interruption in the basso continuo rhythm to create a perfect cadence confirming modulation to A minor.

12 15³ Section II Oboe plays a variation of the opening motive with countermelody of flute. 17³ Violin plays the motive with countermelody of flute and oboe. 19³ Flute plays a similar motive to that of m. 7³ 22 Similar cadence to that of m. 14. In this case establishing C major. 23³ Section III Variation of opening motive in the violin solo (G minor). In the following example original motive and variation side by side. 25³ Entrance of flute with similar variation than 23³ (D minor) 27³ Entrance of oboe with original motive 29³ Violin solo with new variation of original motive. 31³ Entrance of flute. 32 Similar cadence to that of m. 14. In this case establishing Bb major. 33 Section IV Countermelodies in flute and oboe. Begins a sequence of circle of fifths (bass line 5 measures) 37³ Entrance of flute (Eb major). 39³ Flute and oboe in parallel 6ths with original motive. 41³ A new variation of original motive in the flute. 42 Similar cadence to that of m. 14. In this case establishing G minor. 43³ Section Entrance of oboe with variation of original motive. 57³ V Small variation of original motive in violin solo. 59³ Small variation of original motive in oboe. 61³ Small variation of original motive in flute. 63 Hemiola marks the final cadence in d minor with a Picardy third (F# in violin solo) but without dominant.

13

14 3 rd Movement In terms of structure the third movement presents even a greater riddle than the previous movements. The structure could arguably be described as a fugue or at least, as a hybrid between ritornello and fugue. Measure Section Description 1 Expositi on Fugue) Solo Ritornell o) The movement begins with a fugue subject (supported by a basso continuo). The subject begins in the tonic (F). 7 Answer in the oboe (dominant). Since the subject began in the tonic (first note of the subject). The answer can begin in the dominant (in this case a fourth lower). The result is a real answer (opposed to a tonal answer). In this example we present subject and answer side by side for comparison. Both trumpet and oboe develop some of the figures presented until next subject entrance. 21 Subject in violin solo in the tonic (exact transposition 8ve lower from trumpet).

15 27 Answer in the flute 33 Episode Fugue) Imitative counterpoint between flute and violin using contrary motion. 41 Episode Fugue) Entrance of the trumpet with head of the fugue and development of the remaining of the subject while oboe and violin present contrapuntal figures based on fragmentation of the subject. 47 Episode Imitative counterpoint between oboe and trumpet/violin in thirds

16 Fugue) 47² Entrance of ripieno but with limited melodic activity. With the exception of continuo, that develops elements of the subject, the rest of the ripieno role is basically harmonic support. 53 Ritornell o Ritornell o) 57 Reexpositi on This section shows more melodic activity in the ripieno parts. Some people may consider this as a ritornello. Subject in violin solo (C major) with countermelody in flute. 66 Subject in oboe (D minor) with countermelody in violin solo. 72 Subject in violone and continuo (dominant of D minor) with countermelody in flute and bariolage in violin solo. Fugue) 79 Episode Fugue) Contrapuntal dialogue similar to that in m. 47. In here between violone/continuo and trumpet/flute.

17 87 Episode Fugue) Figure in the oboe (with ties to the subject) will be imitated (following the circle of fifths) as follows: Oboe (m. 87) D minor Flute (m. 89) G minor Violin solo (m. 91) C major Trumpet (93) F major 97 Episode Fugue) Contrapuntal dialogue is established between trumpet and oboe/violone/continuo (in thirds). This creates a sequence of suspensions in violins parts.

18 113 Reexpositi Subject in flute (F major). 119 on Fugue) Subject in violone and continue (dominant of F major) while flute presents fragmentation of the subject 126 Episode Similar contrapuntal dialogue to that of measures 87 and 97 between flute and oboe/violin solo. 136 Fugue) Trumpet closes the movement with the first part of the subject.

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