Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4
This Omaha Symphony performance was recorded live at the Joslyn Art Museum's Witherspoon Hall on February 24, 2019.
Featuring solos from violin and two flutes!
Click the play button below to hear this high quality archive recording being released as part of the new Symphony | Anywhere series. Listen to this great masterwork played by your Omaha Symphony from wherever you are!
It’s not entirely clear when Bach originally composed the Brandenburg Concerti – some historians speculate that the forces required to perform the works are similar to the ensemble he had at his disposal while he was Kapellmeister at Köthen. Or, Bach may have revised previous compositions into what is now known as the Six Brandenburg Concerti before he presented them to the Margrave of Brandenburg as a representation of his work. (The letter sent with the music had no less than nine “Your Highness”’s!).
Regardless, the Brandenburg Concerti are among the most treasured in the baroque repertoire, and the Fourth features our Omaha Symphony concertmaster, Susanna Perry Gilmore, and our Principal Flute and former Assistant Principal Flute, Maria Harding and Haley Bangs. The violin part is especially virtuosic in the first and third movements, and surprisingly, acts as the bass line during the slower, inner movement – the andante - while the rest of the ensemble plays above it. Wait until you hear the warp speeds the violin achieves in movement three!
The Brandenburg Concerti were almost lost to us all during World War II – a librarian was traveling with the original manuscripts to Prussia when the train came under aerial attack. By fleeing into the forest, scores in his coat, he was able to keep the music safe and ensure its continued existence. We’d tell you to hug your closest librarian, but during this time of social distancing, a good check-in will do! And, if you don’t have a librarian friend? Get one! They’re pretty cool people.
Our concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore led the orchestra on stage and she provides some added details about performing this piece which also features two flute soloists.
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