Programme Note: DipABRSM| Date: 1st June 2009| | Word Count: 1,085 words | | | | | Partita for solo violin no. 3 in E, BWV 1006 J. S Bach (b. 21 March 1685 in Eisenach;d. 28 July 1750 in Leipzig) Bach was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, court trumpeter for the Duke of Eisenach and director of musicians of the town of Eisenach in Thuringia. It is probably from his father that he learned the fundamentals of music. The Bach family throughout Thuringia had held positions such as organists, town instrumentalists, or Cantors, for many years and the family name enjoyed widespread renown for their musical talent.
While he was ten, he was orphaned and went to live with his elder brother Johann Christoph, organist at St. Michael’s Church, where he was given lessons on the organ and the keyboard. The term ‘Partita’ refers to a suite of dances. It was (assumed) written for Bach’s wife, Maria. A transition for lute was also made by the composer, cataloged as BWV 1006a. The term ‘Loure’ originally was a form of French bagpipe music but later the meaning changed to a slow dance accompanied by the bagpipe. Bach did not have any bagpipe accompaniment to his partita.
It is in six four meter with double dotted rhythms leaning heavily on the strong beats, 1 and 3. It is typically gentle while the triple-stopping gives it grandness. The Gavotte en Rondeau is a gavotte in rondo form. Gavottes have a full upbeat, which is typical of this dance form. Mansbridge’s tempo was approximately 76 beats per minute (half-notes). The Gavotte en Rondeau, the fourth movement, is similar to the prelude through its lively and energetic theme. Gavotte is an old French dance.
As the name suggests, it is set up as a kind of rondo, with restatements of the opening material surrounding contrasting episodes; the happy gavotte tune is played five times in all (six if one counts the repeat of the opening eight bars). This is the reason why it is so catchy. Violin sonata no. 5 in F, ‘spring’ Ludwig van Beethoven (b. December 17th, 1770 in Bonn, Germany; d. March 26th, 1827 in Vienna, Austria) Ludgwig van Beethoven was a composer and pianist between the late Classical period and the early Romantic Period.
Beethoven was born to a musical family and began his instruction under the guidance of his father, who educated him in both violin and piano. He moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there. He studied music with Joseph Haydn. In the late 1790’s, his hearing began to deteriorate but he still continued to compose, conduct and perform. The ‘Spring’ sonata, Op. 24, is the fifth of Beethoven’s ten sonatas for piano and violin. He composed this piece between 1800 and 1801 (which is in his middle period. ). It was dedicated, along with the Sonata in A minor op. 3 to one of Beethoven’s most generous Viennese patrons, Count Moritz von Fries. Op. 23 and 24 were intended for publication as Op. 23 No. 1 and 2, but were separated due to a publishing error. This sonata has three movements; Allegro, Adagio molto espressivo and Rondo. In early Classical Period, usually a violin sonata was called ‘Piano Sonata with Violin as Accompaniment’ (for example: Mozart- Piano and Violin Sonata in C major KV6) but Mozart started to give both instruments an equal voice in his late sonatas.
Beethoven then continued the trend and created this violin sonata. The first movement, Allegro, is in a sonata form. A sonata form is a musical form used widely in the Classical Period. It is divided into three sections, the exposition, development and the recapitulation. The exposition, the opening, starts off with a soft A from the violin, and then the main theme is heard. The piano softly accompanies the violin until the melody ends. The role then switches over with the violin accompanying the piano as it repeats the theme again.
This is an extraordinary theme from Beethoven because it is too pleasant. This beautiful theme has a sweet, singing and graceful character. The second theme which follows is more rhythmic and energetic, and the movement develops around the two contrasting themes. The development is in the key of F minor. There is a dramatic change of the theme from sweet to energetic with the used of harsh sfotzando, staccato and forte-piano marking. Also, in one of the passages, Beethoven had used quaver triplets to create an energetic, driving texture- a hall mark of Beethoven’s style.
The first five bars of recapitulation are exactly the same as the opening except for the accompaniment’s part. The left hand of the piano part has more movement in it. As the recapitulation continues, there is a great difference in rhythm and harmony. Beethoven constructed the ending dramatically when the violin and piano change from a soft answering figure to unison scale passage that drives with a crescendo to the conclusion of the movement. Violin Concerto no. 3 in B minor, Op. 1: 1st Movement Camille Saint-Saens (b. October 9, 1835 in Paris; d. December 16, 1921 in Algiers) The son of a clerk in the Ministry of the Interior, Saint-Saens was primarily raised by his mother and great-aunt as his father died three months after he was born. He began to play the piano at the age of two and by the time he was ten, he had memorized all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. In 1848, Saint-Saens began studying at the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied organ and composition.
He later became a piano professor, teaching students such as Faure and Messager. Saint-Saens wrote his first symphony in 1852 and continued to compose musical masterpieces throughout his life, including three symphonies, five piano concertos, and thirteen operas. While at the Conservatoire, Saint-Saens began experiment with very creative ideas, which were influenced by Wagner and which are presented in his Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor.
This concerto was dedicated to Pablo de Sarasate in 1880 Sarasate gave the first performance of the work at one of the composer’s Monday soirees in 1880, the year Saint-Saens completed the piece. The violin concerto structure was clearly separated into three movements. This was unlikely of Saint-Saens because in his early concerto the movements were merged together into one single movement. The first movement is in sonata form, with technical phrasing added in between. The opening melody, played for the first thirty bars, gives a Spanish style through the broad accented crotchets.
The Spanish style could also be seen clearly in the third movement of the concerto. The second theme was a contrast to the first. A flowing melody in B major then was developing through the intervals of diminished seventh. The violin soloist is supported by the chords in the string section and the horn. The development then was followed immediately with the key of E major. The short recapitulation then is followed by a coda. Unlike any other Saint-Saens pieces, there was not a cadenza in the piece.