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Johann Sebastian Bach – Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051 – Florilegium (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051 – Florilegium (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:33:40 minutes | 2,98 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Booklet, Front Cover | © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Recorded: St John the Evangelist Church, Upper Norwood, London, 24-27 November 2013

In a strange twist of fate, the Brandenburg Concertos have come to be named after a man who didn’t especially want them, never heard them, and may not have liked them had he done so. Johann Sebastian Bach met Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg in 1719 during his tenure as music director at the court of Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, who was the young prince responsible for signing up some of the musicians who were previously employed by Frederick William I. Bach worked at Anhalt-Cöthen from 1717 to 1723, and he and Leopold developed an excellent working relationship there. The Prince enjoyed travel, fine art and, above all, music, and he respected and encouraged Bach in his work, even occasionally participating in the court concerts as violinist, viola da gambist or harpsichordist. Provided by Leopold with an excellent set of instruments and a group of fine players (and the second-highest salary of any of his court employees), Bach enjoyed a fruitful period at Cöthen. Many of his greatest works for keyboard, chamber ensembles and orchestra date from those years.

This set of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051, is one of a group that uses chamber-sized instrumentation, with just one or two instruments per part. The primary Italian models for Bach’s concertos, the concerti grossi of Vivaldi, were intended for an orchestra that is thought to have included some 60 musicians. However, in for a penny, in for a pound, and the British group Florilegium opts to explore the unusual sonorities that are possible only with a smaller ensemble. Often they deemphasize still further the role of the tutti, playing them in a plain way and putting all the emphasis on the solos. Reactions are likely to depend on how listeners feel about chamber-sized Bach orchestral music in general. For those who like it, they’ll find many aspects of these performances fresh, precise, and often graceful; if not, some may feel that the slow movements plod and that the overall structure of contrasts does not emerge with any clarity. Also debatable is the group’s decision to play the six concertos in reverse order to feature ensembles of increasing size as the set proceeds. The six concertos were indeed composed at different times, not as a set, but the ordering, tailored for an important presentation by Bach, is the composer’s own, and this ordering places the most striking and problematic orchestration, that of the fifth concerto with its gigantic harpsichord cadenza, too close to the beginning. The sound from the audiophile label Channel Classics is clear, but has the brittle quality common to church recordings of instrumental music not originally intended for performance in a church. –AllMusic Review by James Manheim

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
Brandeburg Concerto No.6 in B flat major, BWV 1051
1 I. Allegro 00:06:09
2 II. Allegro ma non troppo 00:04:53
3 III. Allegro 00:05:57
Brandeburg Concerto No.5 in D major, BWV 1050
4 I. Allegro 00:09:57
5 II. Affettuoso 00:05:43
6 III. Allegro 00:05:24
Brandeburg Concerto No.4 in G major, BWV 1049
7 I. Allegro 00:06:41
8 II. Andante 00:03:36
9 III. Presto 00:04:37
Brandeburg Concerto No.3 in G major, BWV 1048
10 I. Allegro – Adagio 00:05:54
11 II. Adagio 00:04:35
Brandeburg Concerto No.2 in F major, BWV 1047
12 I. Allegro 00:04:46
13 II. Andante 00:03:34
14 III. Allegro assai 00:02:50
Brandeburg Concerto No.1 in F major, BWV 1046
15 I. Allegro 00:04:06
16 II. Adagio 00:03:29
17 III. Allegro 00:04:17
18 IV. Menuet – Trio I – Menuet da capo – Polacca – Menuet da capo – Trio II – Menuet da capo 00:07:12

Ashley Solomon, artistic director


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