Bach Mnemonics

As I described on my show last week, here's my personal shorthand for remembering which Brandenburg Concerto is which. In case you wanted to know.

#1: Remember as "Number ONE!!! Numero uno! First place!" Bigger sound with more types of instruments (oboe, bassoon, etc.). Noisy and jolly. Makes sense for it to come first.

#2: Two starts with T. Trumpet starts with T. This one is trumpety.

#3: This one is 3 threes. 3 violins, 3 cello, 3 viola. A stringy thing.

#4: Four starts with F. Flute starts with F. (Or it could be a recorder... still flutier than the others.)

#5: There are 5 fingers on each hand. You need all of them to play the crazy harpsichord cadenza that goes on in this one.

#6: Just 6 players--5 strings and a harpsichord. That's the least instrumentation of all. Sparer.

9/5/07 radio show playlist!!
  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer: John Bayless in the style of J.S. Bach
  • Jesu, der du meine Seele/Wir eilen mit wchwachen, doch emsigen Schritten (BWV 78): Bach Ensemble, Joshua Rifkin
  • Sinfonia to Cantata No. 29: Switched-on Bach, Walter Carlos
  • Brandenburg Concerto #5 in D major, Allegro (BWV 1050): Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman director & harpsichord
  • Goldberg Variations #1 (BWV988): Baby Einstein Music Box Orchestra
  • Sinfonia for Double Orchestra in D Major, Allegro assai, by Johann Christian Bach, born 9/5/1735: Eugene Ormandy & the Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: Leo Kottke
  • BourĂ©e: Jethro Tull

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