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Program Notes


Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor BWV 1043
The Concerto for Two Violins is also known as the Double Violin Concerto. It is one of Bach's most famous secular works and is considered by critics to be one of the best examples of late Baroque composition.
It is assumed that the Concerto was likely written between 1720 and 1730. In any case, Bach arranged the work for two Harpsichords, transposed into C minor, BWV 1062 while he was the Director of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig in 1739. This is his only work for two solo Violins.
Bach studied the Violin Concerts by Antonio Vivaldi about 1713 and it is obvious that he was influenced by those works.
The Concerto is scored for two solo Violins, first and second Violins, Viola, Basso continuo. For those not familiar with the term. The Cello/Bass part is used by the Harpsichord player to fill in and improvise an accompaniment.

The Concerto has the parts:
1.     Vivace
2.
     Largo ma non tanto
3.
     Allegro

This work has become part of the standard violin repertoire.

 

"Lascia ch'o pianga" is a soprano aria from the Opera "Rinaldo", HWV 7, composed by George Frederic Händel in 1711. "Rinaldo" is regarded by man critics as one of Handel’s greatest operas.

Handel went to Italy in the autumn of 1706 where he visited Venice, Rome, Naples and Florence, visiting opera houses and concert halls. He met with Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti and Agostino Steffani as well as singers and performers. He was thus able to assimilate the essential characteristics of Italian music.

"Rinaldo" was the first Opera composed in the Italian language written for the London stage. It was first performed at the Queen's Theatre in 1711.

The story is based on "Gerusalemme liberata" by Torquato Tasso, which is an epic poem about the First Crusade. "Almirena", daughter of Goffredo, the First Crusade leader has fallen in love with "Rinaldo" a knight. "Amida", Queen of Damascus and a formidable sorceress, captures and imprisons "Almirena" who then sings the well known aria "Lascia ch'io pianga". The Opera does have a happy end when Almirena and Rinaldo are again united.


"Dance of the Blessed Spirits" is the opening of the second Scene in Act 2 of the Opera "Orfeo ed Euridice" composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck. It was first performed in the Burgtheater in Vienna on October 5, 1762.

"Orfeo ed Euridice" belongs to the genre "azione teatrale", an Opera based on a mythological subject. It is considered to be one of Gluck's "reform" operas which was a move towards simplicity. Gluck was obviously influenced by French opera which used accompanied recitative and comparatively less vocal virtuosity.

The content of "Orfeo ed Euridice", the hero overcoming his fears and traveling to the underworld is universal. The same theme appears in Opera in "The Magic Flute", "Fidelio" and "Das Rheingold". It is an artistic expression of the trials of spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

The second scene opens in “Elysium" with the Flute Solo, which was latter expanded to include a second Theme. "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" has become a favorite Concert piece for Flute players.


"Laudamus te" is a soprano aria from the "Grosse Mess in c-Moll", composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1782 and 1783. It is the last mass composed by Mozart before the "Requiem Mass". The Mass is incomplete, missing most of the Credo and the Agnus Dei.

The first performance was in Salzburg on Sunday 26 October 1783 in the Church of St. Peter's Abbey. His wife Constanze traveled with him from Vienna and sang the "Et incarnatus est" at the premiere.

 "Laudamus te" is a virtuosic aria, demanding a large vocal range, including a strong chest voice, but also a very flexible coloratura technique.


Symphony No. 40 was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1788. Mozart only wrote two Symphonies in minor keys, the "Little G minor symphony", No. 25 and the "Great G minor symphony", No. 40. They mass was composed during an exceptional creative period, Nr. 39 in June, Nr. 40 in July and Nr. 41 in August.

As usual there is a lot of debate amongst music scholars about the mass. Did he actually ever hear the Symphony performed? Were the three Symphony’s 39,40 and 41 intended to be one work? Was the choice of G minor because of personal tragedy in his life? One certain fact is that the symphony was composed for Flute, Oboes, Bassoons, Horns and Strings, but was latter revised to include Clarinets.

The parts are:

Molto allegro, which begins with an accompaniment figure (no introduction) before the main easily recognizable theme sets in.

Andante is in 6/8 times and introduces a theme that latter occurs in "The Magic Flute".

Menuetto, Allegretto - Trio. The minuet has an unusual insistent cross-accented rhythm, followed by a gentle Trio.

Allegro assai is energetic and forceful, written in eight-bar phrases using an ascending triad, known as the Mannheim rocket.

Symphony 40 is one of Mozart most popular and easily recognized works.

Timothy Socha, Auw, Summer 2018


© Timothy Socha 2017