Blois harpsichord

The "Larghetto cantabile" was suggested, at least in part, by the exquisite A-flat-major "Largo" of Bach's Concerto for Harpsichord in F Minor (BWV 1056), as evidenced by its pizzicato accompaniment and singing melody. But Ford's "Larghetto" is cast in the somber minor mode, and unlike Bach's movement, focusses so single-mindedly on the right-hand melody of the soloist that the left hand remains largely at rest. On the other hand, Ford has given much more musical prominence to the first and second violins and cello, all of which break away from a simple accompanying role to provide essential musical ideas of their own. The movement falls into two large sections, articulated by a recitative-style cadence. The first section opens with a plaintive tune that is later taken up in modified polyphonic form by the first and second violins (mm. 12–25), rejoined presently by the harpsichord playing a delicate obbligato (mm. 17–21). In the second half of the movement, a new harpsichord melody in triplet rhythms with pizzicato accompaniment is punctuated by expressive interjections from the cello. By and by the triplets are distributed among the soloist's right and left hands, and with a long trill over bass triplets, the movement draws quietly to a close on the dominant, setting the stage for the G-major tonality of the finale.

Last updated October 20, 2006
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© Copyright 2006 by Joseph Dillon Ford