Monday, 24 March 2008

81. Johann Sebastian Bach - The Brandenburg Concertos (1721)


Title: The Brandenburg Concertos
Performer: Hanover Band
Director: Anthony Halstead
Year: 1991-92
Length: 2 hours


The Brandenburg concertos are some of the most famous pieces of Baroque concertos, probably only second place to Vivaldi's Four Seasons in popularity. Unlike many cases of very popular pieces, there are very good reasons why these concertos deserve that popularity.

These are endlessly inventive pieces, which actually include what is the first ever Keyboard concerto in No.4 with its impressive harpsichord solo in the first movement. The collection also includes truly impressive parts for all kinds of solo instruments.

But even with all this virtuosity required from the players, Bach never sacrifices beauty on the alter of technical skill, these are supremely beautiful, lively and actually "catchy" songs, and that is the reason which explain their popular appeal, and it is fully deserved. Concerto No.2 was sent to space on Voyager and if there are little green men out there will be the first thing they hear, what a rosy picture of humanity they'll get.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Because King Frederick William I of Prussia was not a significant patron of the arts, Christian Ludwig seems to have lacked the musicians in his Berlin ensemble to perform the concertos. The full score was left unused in the Margrave's library until his death in 1734, when it was sold for 24 groschen (as of 2008, about US$22.00 of silver). The concertos were discovered in the archives of Brandenburg in the 19th century.

In the modern era these works have been performed by orchestras with the string parts each played by a number of players, under the batons of, for example, Karl Richter and Herbert von Karajan. They have also been performed as chamber music, with one instrument per part, especially by (but not limited to) groups using baroque instruments and historically-informed techniques and practice.

The short but cheerful Allegro Assai from the 2nd Concerto:

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