Johann Sebastian Bach

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048

    Description by Allen Schrott

    In 1721, J.S. Bach dedicated six orchestral pieces to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg, ostensibly in response to a commission, but more likely as a sugarcoated job application. These pieces display a variety of styles, influences, and musical preoccupations and were probably not conceived of as a set. However, all of them share in Bach's great talent for absorbing new styles (among them the Italian concerto grosso) and then expanding and improving upon them. At any rate, the Margrave never thanked Bach, paid him a fee, staged a performance of the works, or offered him a position. Such was life, even for Bach.

    The Concerto No. 3 in G major may have been written while Bach was at Weimar, given that it (along with Nos. 1 and 6) is reminiscent of the Italian concerto, a genre with which Bach was fascinated at the time. The motoric rhythm, clear melodic outline, and motivic construction owe a lot to the comparable works of Vivaldi, but the clarified harmony and more interesting counterpoint are unmistakably Bach's. The work's two main sections, both in G major (one alla breve, the other in 12/8 time), are separated by a brief Adagio which may be realized as a short violin cadenza. The concerto is written for three violins, three violas, and three cellos, with bass and continuo. The relationship between the instruments is subjective to the listener; as the positioning of the parts fluctuates, it may appear that there are no soloists, that the players are all soloists, or that the violins, violas, and cellos occupy their own solo groups. The Italian concerto grosso's distinction between concertino (a small group of soloists) and ripieno (the full ensemble) becomes in Bach's hands, and especially distinctively in the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, a kaleidoscopic range of colors and shades.

    Parts/Movements

    1. [Allegro]
    2. [Adagio cadenza]
    3. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2018
    CPO
    555158
    2018
    Linn
    CKR 430
    2018
    BGS Records (British Guitar Society)
    BGS 130
    2018
    Arcana
    A 452
    2018
    Chandos
    CHAN 10999
    2018
    Accent
    ACC 24352
    2018
    Grand Piano
    GP 77778
    2017
    Dynamic
    DYNCDS 7787
    2017
    Supraphon
    SU 42132
    2017
    Raumklang
    RK 3007
    2017
    Decca
    4832158
    2017
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 16010
    2016
    Berlin Classics
    0300720BC
    2016
    Archiv Produktion
    4795384
    2016
    Musiques à la Chabotterie
    605014
    2016
    RCA Red Seal
    88875169792
    2016
    Christophorus
    CHR 77400
    2016
    Brilliant Classics
    95303BR
    2016
    Hungaroton
    HCD 3278687
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795983
    2016
    Sonoma
    1235408
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795448
    2015
    Warner Classics
    0825646019311
    2015
    Erato
    550562
    2015
    Alpha
    ALPHA 300
    2015
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    K-Tel
    136436
    2015
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    TMK 1028CD
    2015
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    TACET 101BDA
    2015
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    MELCD 1002301
    2015
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    STNS 30033
    2014
    Channel Classics
    CCSSA 35914
    2014
    Berlin Classics
    0300593BC
    2014
    Smekkleysa
    SMC 3
    2014
    PentaTone Classics
    PTC 5186205
    2014
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    MELCD 1002127
    2014
    Profil / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 13053
    2014
    Various Artists
    L'Oiseau-Lyre / Decca
    4786753
    2014
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    88843045052
    2013
    Archiv Produktion
    002894791045AB55
    2013
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    690116
    2013
    Naïve
    NC 40030
    2013
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    CKD 430
    2013
    ABC Classics
    PLU 349702
    2013
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    201308
    2013
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    CD 1395
    2013
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    0300534BC
    2013
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    93251
    2012
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    ACC 24271
    2012
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    5099970490
    2012
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    ABC 4761923
    2012
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    2012
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    4783384
    2012
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    2012
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    CLA 101382
    2012
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    8802093
    2012
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    2012
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    CD 94615
    2012
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    2012
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    5099963565
    2012
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    8501061
    2012
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    88725463862
    2012
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    002894770055
    2012
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    CLABOX 007
    2012
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    2011
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    OP 30530
    2011
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    8802075
    2011
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    2011
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    002894778908
    2011
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    RCLAS 001
    2011
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    4779559
    2011
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    2011
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    4779510
    2011
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    2011
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    811
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    93578
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    18701
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    5099908517524
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    632646
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    2564632642
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    954
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    7
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    138
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    340310
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    39422
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    212970
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    10316
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    5099921761
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    0184252
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    465893
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    93668
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    4777531
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    0399
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    214274
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    0014202BC
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    93160
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    0946383765
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    93125/2
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    4698123
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    5637204460
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    2007
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    5099950095
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    47715
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    2119
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    93179
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    93320
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    40303
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    2100
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    0186002
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    CDRSN3087
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    93407
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    0946374378
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    477 5695
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    1034
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    99697
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    93102
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    855775556
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    72149
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    0185302
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    CD 83644
    2006
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    4636712
    2006
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    9759
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    CD1187
    2006
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    8557816
    2006
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    0264
    2006
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    68101
    2006
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    2908176
    2006
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    5092/20
    2005
    MediaTag
    15
    2005
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    41034
    2005
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    3018
    2005
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    64571
    2005
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    2005
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    30412
    2005
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    69749
    2005
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    2005
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    2005
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    204580
    2005
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    74656
    2005
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    3769
    2005
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    363
    2005
    Virgin Veritas
    2005
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    0269
    2005
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    1033
    2005
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    284200
    2005
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    3782
    2005
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    99
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    4438
    2005
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    3722
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    34822
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    3487
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    3393
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    5869
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    40028
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    051
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    85792
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    2564617732
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    150701
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    216
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    221533
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    6285
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    048
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    5153052
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    92391
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    201
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    5485
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    1709
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    1711
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    1517
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    288232
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    81732
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    31282
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    31322
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    409048
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    3061
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    200
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    31012
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    302
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    4745602
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    000054502
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    2003
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    2901634/35
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    141302
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    1654
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    1338
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    62281
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    1244
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    2003
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    000005602
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    40043
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    16374
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    3095
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    2601
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    471720
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    VOX7812
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    470934
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    471656
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    3608
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    Andante
    1986
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    90102
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    14570
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    92571
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    7481742
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    513/514
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    3780
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    L'Oiseau-Lyre
    433523
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    IMP Classics
    2006
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    5028
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    468109
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    561726
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    203090
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    99203
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    33902
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    1773
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    1838
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    2951634/35
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    0017302
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    25704
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    1755
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    440675
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    8405
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    70569
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    73281
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    055
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    61814
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    415374
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    92126
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    901634
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    412790
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    3859
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    3854
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    9503
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    277/8
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    90003
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    61403
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    102
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    69717
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    1732
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    34031
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    3110746
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    265071
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    98442
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    1010
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    48062
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    80323
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    15508
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    410500
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    426089
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    414187
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    46253
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    15860
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    35880
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    42308
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    20038
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    4271432
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    423492
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    550047
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    423116
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    400076
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    34122
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    93102-VOL1
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    99701
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    66270
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    442356
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