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Johann Sebastian Bach » Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major » David, Ferdinand - Peters

The edition contains no printed performance markings by David, but has been extensively annotated by him.

As yet no other orchestral parts marked by David have come to light. This set of parts is particularly interesting therefore for the insight it provides into the level of detail that he included in string parts intended for orchestral performance. In copies of orchestral material from the first half of the nineteenth century it is extremely rare to find any added performance markings. David's approach seems to have been exceptional and pioneering, although it is possible that similar annotations may have been found in the orchestral parts prepared by David's teacher Spohr for performances in Kassel where, as part of his training, David served in the orchestra during the mid 1820s. In this set David painstakingly marked all the orchestral string parts with bowing, articulation, tempo and dynamics in a manner that would have made it possible for the disciplined players at David's disposal to play the piece in a uniform and finely nuanced manner at first sight. La Mara (Musikalische Studienkopfe vol. 3, Leipzig 1878), in his chapter on Ferdinand David (pp. 59-60), comments that the orchestral parts David marked up for the use of the Gewandhaus concerts were so admired that they were borrowed by other German orchestras who copied his markings into their own sets of parts. This raises the tantalizing possibility that David's markings may be preserved in the archives of other German orchestras from the second half of the nineteenth century. The surviving set of eight printed parts, which are in the first edition (closely bases on Bach's MS, but with some editorial intervention) published by Dehn in the early 1850s , consist of: - Violino principale - Flauto IIo (marked Violino III Solo by David) - Violino Io di Ripieno (marked N. 1 by David) - Violino IIo di Ripieno (marked N. 1 by David) - Violino IIo di Ripieno (marked No 2 by David) - Viola di Ripieno - Violoncello - Violone di Ripieno David's markings are mostly made in blue crayon, with which he also signed F. David in the top right hand corner of the first page of all parts except Violino II di Ripieno No. 2. A few later markings were made by David in pencil. The Violino principale part also contains Solo and Tutti markings throughout in orange crayon, indicating the David directed the performance from the violin. The fact that the viola, cello and bass parts were not numbered like the Violino di Ripieno parts suggests that there was only intended to be one desk, or one player, for these parts and two desks of violins. It seems possible that a Violin 1o di Ripieno part marked No 2 and a Flauto Io part marked Violino II Solo were separated from the rest in recent years, for the parts contain pencil markings that show them to have been used fairly recently for performance at Uppingham School. In addition to the printed parts there are two manuscript piano parts written in ink, in David's handwriting. One of these, clearly intended for use in performance, is headed Continuo; like the string parts it is signed F. David in blue crayon. This contains the bass part in the left hand with very sparse additions in the right hand; whole-bar rests in the right-hand stave indicate that large portions of the work were intended to be tasto solo. The Andante is marked tacet. Above the right-hand stave there is a spare stave, partly provided with bar lines, perhaps intended for cues, but containing no notes except on p. 6, where an alternative to the ink right-hand part has been written in by David in blue crayon. The other piano part, headed Concerto, is an orchestral reduction that could have been intended for accompanying the soloists in rehearsal, or might have been used at some time for a performance without orchestra. The final page of the reduction, from bar 195 of the last movement, is missing. The concerto was performed by David at the Gewandhaus chamber concerts on December 2, 1871, with the other three members of the Gewandhaus quartet plus Fr. G. Haubold (2nd violin), J. E. Storch (Contrabasso), W. Barg and G. Tischendorf (flutes), and Carl Reinecke (piano). The parts had evidently been used earlier for a performance by strings and piano, probably, as suggested above, with more than one player on each violin part, but no record of that performance has yet been identified. [C. B.]

Composer Johann Sebastian Bach
Work Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major
Title Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major
Publisher Peters
City Leipzig
Date 1850 [Source: plate number comparison]
Publication Number
Instrumentation – 2 Violins · 1 Viola · 1 Cello · 6 Others
Partly Recomposed No


Part Plate No. Medium Annotations Musical Text(s)
Cembalo A 3430 Manuscript Manuscript
Cembalo B 3430 Manuscript Manuscript
Flute 2 Solo (Violin 3) 3430 Printed Manuscript
Solo Vl 3430 Printed Manuscript
Vl 1 3430 Printed Manuscript
Vl 2 (A) 3430 Printed Manuscript
Vl 2 (B) 3430 Printed Manuscript
Vla 3430 Printed Manuscript
Vlc 3430 Printed Manuscript
Vle 3430 Printed Manuscript