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Johann Sebastian Bach; arranged for flute choir by Nancy Nourse
Of the six Brandenburg Concertos, the Concerto No. 3, despite the fact it is composed for string orchestra, is the least like the traditional baroque concerto grosso, in that there is no solo or concertino group used in contrast to the full ensemble. Far predating Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, is this concerto by Bach which challenges all the members of the ripieno to perform a concerto without designated soloists. Another distinctive feature of this concerto is that it consists of only two movements separated by a single measure of two chords.
The scoring of this concerto for flute choir attempts to follow the original intentions of the work as closely as possible. The flutes are grouped in threes to represent the three separate sections of violins, violas and 'cellos. The key has been transposed form the original G major to accommodate the various flutes' ranges. Unlike the first movement of this concerto the 'cello parts are never divisi in this movement. Therefore in order to achieve a good balance, it is advisable to triple or at least double the players on this part. Ideally this would be done by using an alto flute (part 8) and/or a bass flute (part 9). If these larger flutes are not available, this movement does work quite successfully as long as there are sufficient C flute players on part 7. Part 7 might even be played on a bassoon, 'cello or bass as another option. The doubling of any or all of the other flute parts is not only acceptable, but recommended when possible.