The source materials for the Concerto for Two Violins date from the Leipzig period, but some scholars suspect that the work was recycled from earlier. In the Concerto for Two Violins, Bach combined the florid instrumental textures he had absorbed from Vivaldi with the rigor of his own contrapuntal craft.
J.S. Bach: Double Violin Concerto on Vimeo
In counterbalance, the solo episodes wrangle an incisive theme of dramatic leaps and descending scale fragments. The movement proceeds in this ritornello format, interspersing ensemble statements of the subject around churning elaboration by the soloists. The stately slow movement again begins with a fugal pattern. The two solo lines dance in subtle opposition of each other, creating a smooth stream of nearly constant motion. When the voices do unite in descending harmonies, this simplest music speaks with uncanny elegance.
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The first solo violin takes the first statement, followed just two eighth notes later by the second violin, at the same pitch instead of transposed. But what this pupil of yours accomplishes bears the same relation to the little Mozart that the perfect speech of a grown man does to the prattle of a child. It was completed on March 31, , when Mendelssohn was only fifteen years old.
If the work does not yet bear the distinct voice of his Italian and Scottish Symphonies, the C Minor nevertheless demonstrates the technical maturity on which those more fiercely original works would be built. The specter of Bach, the composer whom Mendelssohn most revered, likewise haunts the Symphony, most clearly in the fugal passage in its finale.
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Brahms Violin Concerto; Double Concerto
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BACH DOUBLE VIOLIN CONCERTO (IN D MINOR)
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