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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos [CD]

Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, Bach Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 22.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos + Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach + Bach: Motets [2011] [SDG: SDG716]
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Product details

  • Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (28 Sep 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: SDG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,930 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV1046
2. Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047
3. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
Disc: 2
1. Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major, BWV1049
2. Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050
3. Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B Flat Major, BWV1051

Product Description

BBC Review

When a new recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos lands on the doormat to review, it’s hard to know whether to be excited at the prospect of a new look at this famous and much-recorded work, or to scream for mercy. Can any new recording of them be fresh and rightly different enough in order to justify itself, especially given that the market is also flooded with premiere recordings ranging from early music to the newly written?

Perhaps yes on this occasion, for whilst every other Tom, Dick and Harry of the music world seems to have recorded the Brandenburgs, Gardiner has not, and without additional sells such as new scholarly insights on pitch or instrumentation, this disc stands up on its own quite simply as a smashing performance that has evidently been recorded for sheer delight in the music.

Despite Gardiner’s name appearing as prominently as usual alongside that of the English Baroque Soloists, the small instrumental forces required have actually rendered him redundant as a director on this occasion. Nevertheless, his musical stamp is all over the recording in his role as facilitator, encourager, and consultant as to how the concertos should be interpreted and balanced. Gardiner’s programme notes urge us to never forget that, “for all its ingenuity, elegance and craft, this is essentially dance music”. No doubt thanks to this approach, the concertos do carry additional sparkle to usual. You can always count on Gardiner to set a nippy pace, and there’s no change here: rhythm and forward momentum are the names of the game.

In terms of attack, the faster movements bounce happily along with notes held just long enough to sound lilting rather than choppy, whilst the expansive legato lines of the slower movements are enjoyed for all they’re worth. The ensemble playing is a model of cohesive teamwork, but the players also shine as individuals in the many virtuoso solo passages peppered throughout the set, bringing excitement to some ear-poppingly difficult writing without ever losing the line of musical thought. What more could anyone ask for? --Charlotte Gardner

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Product Description

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JS Bach - Brandenburg Concertos 3 Oct 2009
By r.b.
Format:Audio CD
Finally we have John Elliot Gardiner's interpretation's of Bach's famous Brandenburg Concertos.Of all the well known authentic specialists Gardiner is among the last to record them although as he states in the booklet notes,he only conducted concertos 1 and 2 but rehearsed the others with his players.
The results on initial hearing are staggering.Gardiner sets brisk tempo for the allegro in concerto no 1 for which the horn players do a fantastic job.Natural Horns from the Baroque era are incredibly difficult to play and this is usually a weak point in period instrument recording's but Anneke Scott and David Bentley perform very well indeed here.In concerto no 2 Gardiner sets VERY brisk tempo,perhaps too much so,but the notoriously
hard trumpet part is AMAZINGLY played by Neil Brough,certainly the best i have yet to hear.It's a brilliant performance for which he deserves a medal,especially at those speeds.Concerto 3 to 6 are all played very skillfully too.
How this new period recording of the Brandenburg's will stand up upon repeated listening only time will tell but on first hearing it's truly remarkable.I have never heard concerto's 1 and 2 (always extremely difficult for the brass players) performed so technically well.Although the tempi Gardiner sets is rather too brisk there is no denying that it's also exhilarating.

All in all this is a joyous and lively account of the Brandenburg Concertos which is superbly played and well recorded,if a little dry.There are countless authentic instrument versions available but this one certainly deserves a place in the very top bracket.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely agree with r.b. 17 Oct 2009
By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This is a truly outstanding rendition of the Brandenburgs, which is saying something, as there are many excellent versions in the field. My picks are 1 and 2, 1 with the wonderfully exuberant horns (the players give every impression of having a great time), and 2 with a brilliant account of the wickedly difficult trumpet part, the best on a natural trumpet I've heard. And you can still hear the recorder! The others are also beautifully played, with bouncy Gardinerish tempi (clearly concertmaster Kati Debretzeni has learned from The Boss).

Arise, go forth, and buy. You won't be disappointed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid! 11 Nov 2009
Format:Audio CD
Also completely agree with r.b. Pleasingly, the opening seems less frantic than other versions, but that's not to say that this recording lacks passion or dynamism (when required). The musicians have clearly worked hard in rehearsal & obviously thoroughly enjoy Bach's great work, playing it with effortless virtuosity that expertly mixes verve & excitement with pathos & subtlety.

This is also an excellent recording: the instruments sound detailed, rich & expansive in tone, but never harsh or brittle; the soundstage is open & room-filling with fine separation; & it's always a good sign that a recording is so detailed that you can hear the musicians drawing breath.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recording 28 Feb 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The English Baroque soloists, under the skilled leadership of John Eliot Gardiner make this an excellent recording a joy to listen to
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