Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenberg Consorth - The Brandenburg Concertos

Monday 1st February 1993
Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenberg Consorth - The Brandenburg Concertos

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Hyperion 66711/2

Reviewed by Dave Massey

These pieces were written during a period of great happiness for Bach when he was employed as kappellmeister in the service of Prince Leopold of Cothen. The prince was an accomplished musician and like Bach, a Calvinist so the two had much common ground. Some of the music (despite the Calvinist dislike for it) was used in church, most notably the first movement of the third concerto which was used as a simfonia to one of Bach's church cantatas. In this recording the Brandenburg Consort bring a sense of musicality and phrasing that demonstrates their intimate knowledge of the music, dusting off the sometimes cold and mechanical approach that has characterised many past recordings of Bach's music. In Concerto No. 4, the composer indicates that 'Hanti d'echo' is to be used - an unknown instrument which Goodman interprets as meaning from a distance and to that end (if you'll forgive the pun) - in performance, the recorder players up sticks and play from a distance, returning only just in time for their breathless entry in the following 'Presto'. If his interpretation is correct, it is a convincing argument for Bach's sense of humour often lost by critics under the weight of 'serious music'.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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