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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, but let's not forget JSB!, 31 Oct. 2009
Mrs. Pamela M. Rolph "amy1608" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Switched on Brandenburgs (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful survey of Bach's "Brandenburg" concerti. It perfectly complements traditional renditions.

The original versions, for orchestral instruments, are famed for their invention, arresting melodies and rhythms. What Wendy Carlos brings to them is clarity: you can really 'see' into the sometimes dense Baroque lines and harmonies. On pages spattered with black notes, you can hear everything that's going on. The performances are also great fun at every turn, even the 6th, which can often seem 'muddy' in its orchestral form.

Wendy Carlos has revised the short middle movement in No 3, and explains why in the helpful accompanying notes, and brings it into line with the rest of the whole set. The original [1968] version was outrageously good fun, but clearly not Bach!

This is a set which bears repeated listening, quite hypnotic in parts.

It's clearly been a real labour of love of for Wendy Carlos and her producer to bring us a complete set of Brandenburgs. It might be her greatest achievement. But we mustn't forget that it needed Bach's genius to give Wendy Carlos something to 'realize'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot more than 10 digits!, 3 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Switched on Brandenburgs (Audio CD)
When Walter Carlos recorded the LP ‘Switched on Bach’ in the 1960s he invented a collection of semi-instrumental voices and placed them in the sound stage in ways which made understanding the dialogues and counterpoint of the music so much easier for a non-executant like me. Among the pieces was the third Brandenburg Concerto for which Carlos composed a whimsical middle movement to replace the Phrygian cadence which is all that Bach left. The 1970s brought another LP, ‘The Well Tempered Synthesiser’, and Brandenburg 4 in similar vein.
Now we have ‘Switched on Brandenburgs’ - all six Brandenburg Concertos on CD: the earlier two efforts have had some refurbishing and number three gets another new second movement: the other four are altogether new.

Notwithstanding the executants’ stated aim to produce a home concert I don’t think these discs are best listened to at one sitting: given the novel sound world, and without the visual cues of different combinations of instrumentalists, it’s possible to forget that individual movements are part of complete concertos. Also the uniform attack and modest dynamic range tend to mean that the bass line can bump along unremittingly and hypnotically. The sound chosen sometimes seems to take a fraction of a second to ‘speak’ fully and the effect is that the bottom line follows, when it ought to propel the music rhythmically. Critics used to be unhappy with Karajan’s beautiful legato / German 'romantic' sound when they perceived the music as needing a more alert energy and I feel something of that at times here.
The sound of the later realisations is perhaps a little more dense but the original virtues of clarity and spacial distribution are always present.

Whether you will like ‘Switched on Brandenburgs’ must partly depend on how comfortable you are away from the familiar sound world of winds and strings. Bach’s notes are there (and, pace Eric Morcambe, in the right order!) but the artificial timbres - literally rather than pejoritavely meant - can distract traditionalists; I think this is a good thing as it makes one pay attention to great music that may have become too reassuringly familiar but maybe one should have another recording as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Bradenberg Concertos CD, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: Switched on Brandenburgs (Audio CD)
Great music. Great arrangement of the Brandenburg concertos. The electronic synthesizer Wendy Carlos plays is beautiful. Love it. Just put on the CD and relax. Recommended. Quick delivery.
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Switched on Brandenburgs by Wendy Carlos (Audio CD - 2005)
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