Bach to the Future: An Interactive Music Experience

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Bach to the Future: An Interactive Music Experience (58:00)
Item# 34807

J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 takes on new life in this Emmy-nominated Discovery Concert™. Conductor George Marriner Maull and the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey create an interactive experience through which spectators become intimate with the concerto’s third movement and the structure of a fugue. Engaging the live audience in spirited conversation, Maull cajoles them into listening carefully to excerpts played by the orchestra and offering candid responses. A listening guide accompanies the program—providing a visual means with which to follow the music—as well as a study guide with helpful exercises and a vocabulary list for teachers. Both guides are available online. (58 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (14)

1. George Marriner Maull and Bach (01:12)
 Available for Free Preview

Bach bundled together six concertos. Each one is like a dialogue between wind instruments and the rest of the orchestra. Bach dedicated these to the Margrave of Brandenburg.

2. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (05:39)

Under the direction of George Marriner Maull, the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra plays Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, Movement III, Presto, in G major.

3. Orchestra and Audience Interact (01:07)

Maull breaks the symphonic concert tradition by limiting this concert to a single movement of one composition. He provides the audience with a listening guide to follow along with the music and discussion.

4. Movement III: Melody (04:35)

Maull challenges the audience to count the number of times the melody occurs throughout the passage. Maull points out the distinction between hearing music and actually listening to it.

5. Texture in Music (06:04)

Musical texture includes the melody, the melody with chords, or two melodies together, or polyphonic texture. A polyphonic composition treated in an imitative fashion is called a fugue.

6. Musical Devices: Repetition and Sequence (03:59)

Repetition of the melody can be at different pitch levels. Sequence gives listeners a sensation of geographic travel, like arriving at a destination. Sequences will either ascend or descend.

7. Musical Devices: Imitation and Stretto (03:47)

Stretto is the narrow connection of the imitation sequence so that it overlaps with the original. In this piece the stretto ascends to create an overarching sequence.

8. Violin Solo in Movement III (04:51)

Most people expect soloists to play technically dazzling pieces. The solo violin plays eight sounds for every two-beat measure then doubles the speed to create drama.

9. Major and Minor Keys (02:57)

In this section of Movement III, the main note changes from major to minor. Both versions evoke a different feeling and response. Bach wanted the listener to notice the difference.

10. Dynamics and Pedal Points (05:38)

Dynamics is the difference between loudness and softness. Pedal point means sustaining one sound to create tension or exert a magnetic force. The term comes from an organist using foot pedals.

11. Homophonic Texture (03:13)

At this point Bach has every instrument play two sounds together. Prior to this point the orchestra had been playing polyphonic texture. For a visceral feeling, the audience sounds out the two sounds.

12. Bach's Use of Silence and Chords (03:09)

At this point in Movement III, Bach uses silence for the first time. He does this by omitting the sound on the down beat. His choice of chords is unexpected and slightly discordant.

13. Bach's Conclusion of Movement III (02:46)

Bach concludes this piece by returning to a polyphonic texture and then having everyone play one last chord together. Maull reiterates the importance of listening to music, not just hearing it.

14. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (05:29)

The New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra concludes its concert by playing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 Movement III in its entirety.

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