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Monday, February 21, 2005

BACH- Gavotte from English Suite No. 3 in G Minor BVW 808

I'd have to say that recently I have come to appreciate and enjoy a good Bach Gavotte. The orchestra is doing one right now which will be played prior to the Augusta Read Thomas piece, Galaxy Dances. She told Mr. Smith that she was heavily influenced by both Bach and Debussy, so he decided to incorporate their music into the concert as well. Kind of a cool little note.
Anyway, the Gavotte is usually a peppy little dance melody with downbeats marked tenuto more to help the dancers than the musicians, but for the most part played stacatto, despite the fact that there are no indications in the score.
This gavotte by Bach reminds me of the one we're doing right now. The piece begins in G minor as indicated by the title, the key signature and all the nice f#s. The first eight bars makes up a period in my mind, the first four bars ending in somewhat of a half cadence in the middle of the fifth measure when the exposition repeats itself. I think its fair to call this little repetition of material an ellision since it is in the middle of a meaure. Interestingly though, somewhere between measures 6 and 8 the expostition modulates to the relative B-flat major, ending in a Perfect Authentic cadence in this key.
The period repeats itself, and what could be considered the B theme begins. It has a similar rhythmic motive to the A theme, though it sounds nothing alike. I think I would probably venture to say that the three measures preceeding measure 11 are more transitional\developemental than anything else. The rhythmic paterns chance and more notes start happening at measure 11 which really differenciates this as the B section of the piece. The material continues onward, without a trace of the A theme or any expository material. The key signature starts to get played around with a little more, and all of a sudden towards the end of the section there are f#s and e-naturals popping up and it seems that the piece has modulated back to the orginal key of G minor.
I'm still a little shaky on the terminology, but I think its best to say that this is a closed binary form. It ends in the same key that it began in, though there is no return to any expository material after its initial introduction at the beginning of the piece.

3 comments:

John Styx said...

Ah, Bach Gavottes, the most powerful of all gavottes really. Great explanation of the type of piece in relation to how you interpreted it and a very strong analyisi to boot. Excellent job!

Martin Buber said...

I would say it's closed (or sectional) and simple. Simple because A doesn't really show up in B.

FluteBunny10 said...

I enjoyed your background info. on gavottes. I think I see the 3 measures before bar 11 as part of the B section because the melody in the right hand is seen in the left hand in measure 15.