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Acadamy of ancient music,
This review is from: Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1-6 [IMPORT] (Audio CD)
There are many, many recording of these great works by the magnificent Johann Sebastian Bach. This recording is most unique.
The Acadamy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood specialise in "authentic instruments". And in the case of this recording it would be fair to say that they are trying to get as close as possible to an "authentic version" of these concertos. Or to put it more acuratly a more "original version".
The version that most people know, (quite rightly) is the versions of six concertos that were presented to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721. This is how they became known collectively as the "Brandenburg" concertos.
However the concertos were not written for the Margrave. Bach took a selection of concertos that he had already written and performed for some period of time prior to this presentation. He revised them to make them suitable to the Margrave and to appear a "set"of six.
Christopher Hogwood has gone back to the original manuscripts to the versions that Bach and his musicians actually played at Sunday Evenings of chamber music in Cothen.
So could we criticise Hogwood for presenting the Brandenburg Concertos that are not actually the Brandenberg Concertos? Well we could, but it wouldn't be right. The concertos may have become collectively known as the "Brandenburg" concertos but they are mostly the same concertos. And since there have been numorous revisions since the Margrave versions and various interpretations over the years, it is of no less value to look at the original concept of these works that changed from the time of the Margrave presentation.
Christopher Hogwood has brought together a body of research to create a difinitive interpretation of these pre Margrave concertos. The result is brilliant.
The greatest difference between earlier and later versions is that here in Concerto No1 there is no second Allegro, or Polonaise that were added later. Also there are differences in accompanying lines with violins and no oboes. And there are other variations of instrumentation throughout the concertos.
. One of the most interesting features of this set concerns the size and nature of the bass stringed instruments. Hogwood uses three different instruments. In Concertos Nos. I and 3, and a contrabass instrument is used for Concerto No. 4, and a smaller violone for Concerto No. 5. It is really interesting to see how the concertos appeared originaly and it is also interesting to compare the differences to the versions that most people know.
This is an exciting project.
I have had this recording since the late 1980s and it is the version of these concertos that I am now most familiar with. I love this release. It is one of my favourite recordings and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alternative version to the better known Margrave ones, or even as that "one" recording to get as representational of the Brandenburg concertos. If you already have the Brandenburg Concertos in a more familiar version, do not be afraid to invest in duplicating here because this recording will make a good alternative.
The performance is polished and stylish. The arrangement is excellent and the sound is very clear and captures the full character of each instrument. It has a good resonantly acoustic feel to it.
This is a digital recording made at Walthamstow Town Hall in 1984.