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Cellowise: Quintasia (Set of Parts). PDF

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Set of Parts for ‘Quintasia’ (C360)

Gavotte en Rondeau from Violin Partita No.3 (BWV 1006). Paper, daylight and candles were often in short supply during Bach’s very busy lifetime but simply to view the autograph score in his hand of the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin is to be bound into a spell by the beauty, skill and extempore furiosity of the script. The cycle has been described as a miracle of implied harmony and rich harmonic textures, “its freshness and maturity, its depth, its beauty, its response to all moods” informing a work of humanity and genius unparalleled in all the literature for solo violin. The present arrangement of the Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita No. 3 (BWV1006) is based on Rachmaninoff’s intricate harmonisation for piano.

‘Ruht Wohl’ from the St. John Passion (BWV 245). In the final Chorus from the St. John Passion, Bach imbues the popular dance-forms of the Sarabande and Minuet with a spiritual theme of atonement and reconciliation. The three ritornelli stand like pillars in a palindromic structure whose unbroken melodic line and flowing counterpoint represent a ‘timeless continuance’. The original scoring is light and transparent, and transfers appropriately to a choir of cellos without the loss of any counterpoint.

Prelude Op. 25 No 3 by Rachmaninoff. Throughout his career as a composer and virtuoso pianist, this Prelude was one of Rachmaninoff’s favourite pieces and he dedicated it to his teacher Alexander Siloti. A powerful structure is built up from a small rhythmic motif, reminiscent of Tchaikovsky’s representations of fate or Shostakovich’s of looming state power. This is contrasted with a lyrical middle section and a final phrase marked leggiero in which the music flies off into the air like a bird.

Grades 6–8

Performed by Ben Tarlton, Leo Popplewell, Toby White, Akito Goto and Pedro Silva. Recorded in St. Judes on the Hill, London.

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