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1712 – Corelli Concerto Grosso


1712 Arcangelo Corelli Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 No. 4
Instrumentation Strings and continuo plus two solo violins and cello
Movements I: Adagio-Allegro (D) II: Adagio (D) III: Vivace [Minuet] (D) IV: Allegro (D)
Overview This is a Baroque concerto gross and as such not within this AoS. However, it provides useful background as an example of Baroque orchestration. Also, Corelli’s string writing and his clear harmony and tonality was very influential on later composers.

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 A) Overall form  The basic four-movement plan of this piece is the same as that adopted in symphonies by Classical composers. The Vivace third movement is a minuet in style (although not in name). In other works by Corelli this sort of movement is simply one of a range of stylized dances collected into suites (e.g. Allemande, Courante, Gigue etc.), which is the context in which minuets were originally found in instrumental compositions.
 F) Development of the orchestra  The basic orchestral ensemble of strings plus continuo carried on into the early Classical era. In Baroque music, the continuo part is played by a melodic bass instrument (in this case cellos/basses) and a harmony instrument (here a harpsichord but could be an organ or a lute)