Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully warm and affectionate Brandenburgs, 1 July 2012
This review is from: Bach: The Six Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046 - BWV 1051 (Le Concert Des Nations) (Audio CD)
For years now I have considered the finest two recordings of these much loved Bach concertos to be by the Italians:Giovanni Antonini's "Il Giardino Armonico" and Rinaldo Alessandrini's "Concerto Italiano". Both are exuberant, vital and fizzing with energy and the choice between them would depend on which engineering you preferred...Il Giardino Armonico being the more diamond bright of the two and for me, a slightly preferable acoustic but both are wonderfully analytical in their revealing of every inner part.

BUT....occasionally, i'm in the mood to hear these endlessly fascinating pieces played in a more relaxed manner and this is where Jordi Savall's multi-national "Le Concert des Nations" comes in...a team that boasts names as individually famous as Fabio Biondi and Pierre Hantai. Theirs is a warmer, mellower view than either of the afore-mentioned but still wearing a broad smile on it's face. Tempi tend to be marginally slower, the bass line is richer and..well bassier(!) giving the music a more grounded, fulsome texture, and the beautifully captured acoustic too enhances this aura of mellow pleasure, as if watching these Brandenburgs with a sunset over the sea, compared to the dazzle of the noon-day sun on the waters of the two Italian versions (...forgive my flight of fancy!).
This approach makes No.6, which often comes over as the weakest of the set, particularly gorgeous in Savall's performance. It's slow movement, and indeed all the slow movements are expansive and made more substantial and rewarding in their own right whereas in the other versions i sometimes feel they are simply make-weights between the virtuosity of the outer movements.

Make no mistake, this is brilliant playing and a highly evolved interpretation. I would advise owning this version and one of the Italians (...I would plump for Giardino Armonico...) and both will bring you lasting and contrasting pleasure, depending on your mood of the moment.
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