Symphony Royale

Enjoy the beloved music of the Royals with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3, Handel’s Water Suite, Vivaldi’s Credo in E minor, and more, Saturday, March 16 beginning at 7:30 pm at the Alberta Bair Theater, Concert Cues, an interactive discussion before the show begins at 6:45 pm.
Featuring the Billings Symphony Chorale

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), Credo in E minor, RV 591

The Credo belongs to the large group of church works which Vivaldi composed in Venice between 1713 and 1717 for the Ospedale della Pietà, the convent and orphanage which was his primary place of employment. Written solely for choir and strings, the four-movement work is a companion piece to the Gloria, RV 588 (the less well-known of Vivaldi’s two settings).

Bach Brandenburg Concerto #3

The six Brandenburg Concertos—the “cold call” portfolio Bach dedicated and sent to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt in hopes of a job offer—give us a glimpse into the evolution of modern orchestral composition. In the Baroque era, a “concerto” wasn’t necessarily a virtuoso solo showpiece as we think of it today. The word frequently referred to a work in which musicians perform in concert (as a group). Concerto No. 3 was originally composed for three violins, three violas, three cellos, bass, and harpsichord. The nine upper strings serve as both concertino (soloists) and ripieno (accompanists), fluidly transitioning between roles throughout the piece.

The Water Suite

As King George I planned his July 17, 1717 barge party, he asked Handel to provide music in the form of an orchestra composition for about 50 musicians. Handel responded with Water Music, which, according to one eyewitness, engaged an ensemble of flutes, recorders, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, violins, and basses. (Timpani were likely added after the limiting factor of a barge-borne performance was eliminated.) The king was so delighted with the new work that he asked to hear it over and over—for a total of four performances, lasting about an hour apiece.

Because Water Music was assembled and published posthumously as a complete collection, the order in which the Handel wished the various movements to be played remains uncertain. Instead, movements are grouped according to their keys and instrumentations, creating three shorter suites—in F major, in D major, and in G major.