This splendid piece of music dates from Bach's time in Weimar. It's a transcription of from L’Estro Armonico of Vivaldi's Concerto Op 3 No 9 D major RV 230 and is one of a series of transcriptions he produced during his time there possibly at the behest of the Duke of Weimar. It has the usual pattern of such works of a fast introductory movement, a slow middle movement, and a slow concluding movement. It always amazes me when I hear these transcriptions how Bach, who was a great admirer of Vivaldi's music, managed to adapt a piece of music written for strings for the harpsichord. It's so fresh and natural sounding that you'd never know to listen to it that it was a transcription all of the character and brilliance of Vivaldi's original is presented and is enhanced by the genius of Bach.
The first movement (Allegro) starts with a fanfare followed by the ritornello proper it's a bit unusual amongst Vivaldi's ritornellos as it lacks the restatements throughout the opening material of the opening material and is harmonically straightforward as stays in the tonic key pretty much for all of the time. For the second movement (Larghetto) Vivaldi wrote a beautiful solo melody with piano homophonic accompaniment played by the upper ripieno strings without bass. The original is lovely and you'd think hearing it that it couldn't be improved but Bach's elaborations of the melody add, in my opinion, considerably to the original while retaining the framing of full groups of homophonic chords with which Vivaldi accompanied so many of his slow movements. The final movement - also marked Allegro, is announced by a lively tune, the final presto of which has the ritornello theme making an appearance in the bass against a background of loud repeated full chords played by the right hand. Bach then takes Vivaldi's bass line and transforms it into passages of brilliant thirty-second notes to bring the concerto to its close. You'll find it below both together with a link to a YouTube search on RV 230 if you're not familiar with the original. Enjoy :-)
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