Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, etc.

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, etc.

by Benjamin Britten


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Composers in Bach's day made their living writing music for royalty, nobility, and the church. Johann Sebastian played for the Margrave of Brandenburg during one of his visits to Berlin and was invited to send some along of his compositions. Hoping to be awarded some sort of royal patronage, he went back home to Cöthen, compiled this set of six concertos, copied it -- by hand, of course -- into a lavish manuscript copy suitable for such an important presentation, then sent the package off to Berlin, probably by the German equivalent of the pony express. The Margrave almost certainly never had these concertos played, and what's worse, the composer never received a penny for his troubles. But how much richer we are for Bach's efforts. In the richly woven intricacy of their counterpoint and in the vividness and variety of their instrumentation, the Brandenburgs stand out from the huge heap of Baroque concertos -- and these characterful performances by Benjamin Britten and the English Chamber Orchestra stand out from the huge heap of Brandenburg recordings on the market. Each of these works is scored for a different set of instruments, which colors the character of the music itself: the whooping hunting horns of the Concerto No. 1, for example, and the sonorous, sinuous lines of the Concerto No. 6, written for an ensemble comprised of lower strings (without violins). Britten and his band bring out a musical rainbow of colors, while exuding an emotional warmth and interpretive wisdom that is rarely found in performances of Baroque music today.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/16/1995
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028944384727
catalogNumber: 443847
Rank: 82238


  1. Brandenburg Concerto No 1 in F major, BWV1046
  2. Brandenburg Concerto No 2 in F major, BWV1047
  3. Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G major, BWV1048
  4. Brandenburg Concerto No 4 in G major, BWV1049
  5. Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D major, BWV1050
  6. Brandenburg Concerto No 6 in B flat major, BWV1051
  7. Concerto for 2 harpsichords & strings in C minor (or for oboe & violin in D minor), BWV 1060: for oboe & violin
  8. Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F minor (or for oboe or violin in G minor) BWV 1056

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