Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged for Flute Choir by Nancy Nourse
Published by Nourse Wind Publications
Includes score and parts
Contrabass Flute (Contralto Flute) (Optional)
*The doubling of parts is not only acceptable, but recommended when possible.
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 Johann Sebastian 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 chord.
Bach composed the Brandenburg Concertos during his Cothen period for Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721. There is apparently no evidence that indicates that the margrave, who was an avid music collector and commisisoned these pieces from Bach, ever had these works performed or even paid the composer for his efforts. After the margrave's death, the manuscripts were found in their original packaging and sold for a pittance to Bach's pupil, Johann Philipp Kirnberger. Although it may be unlikely that Bach ever heard the Brandenburg Concertos, we would certainly have heard the first movement of the third concerto, when ten years later he reworked and used it as the sinfonia in his Cantata No. 174, this time with additional oboes and horns.
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 into threes to represent the three separate sections of violins, violas, and cellos. The key has been transposed from the original G major to accomodate the various flutes' ranges. The doubling of parts is not only acceptable, but recommended when possible.
If the second movement is to be played, there are two versions of the Adagio bridge measure which may be used. Also of note in the second movement is that the Flute 7, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, and Contrabass/Contralto Flute parts are entirely identical.