Britten: Bach - Brandenburg Concertos 1-6
Britten: Bach - Brandenburg Concertos 1-6

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer: Peter Graeme, Anthony Randall, Emanuel Hurwitz, Ifor James, David Mason, Richard Adeney, Norman Knight, Philip Ledger, Nicholas Kraemer, Christopher Hogwood, Carmel Kaine, William Bennett
Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Conductor: Benjamin Britten, Neville Marriner
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Decca
Size: 650 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

Benjamin Britten’s Bach is a “middle-of-the-road” version of these delightful works. They offer no startling departures from the Baroque style favored in the 1960s, but are ripe, polished performances with a fearless trumpet soloist in No. 2, and outstanding flute and violin solos throughout. Modern instruments and moderate tempos may seem stodgy these days, but there’s integrity in Britten’s music-making and this set, recorded in 1968, still sounds fresh, easily holding its own against more recent versions. As an added attraction, London includes concerti for violin and oboe, and flute and strings, both done in the 1970s with Neville Marriner leading light and springy readings of distinction. —Dan Davis

# Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with English Chamber Orchestra, Peter Graeme, Anthony Randall, Emanuel Hurwitz, Ifor James
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with English Chamber Orchestra, Peter Graeme, David Mason, Emanuel Hurwitz, Richard Adeney
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

Also available:  Marriner, Tuckwell: Mozart - Horn Concertos no.1, 4 (FLAC)

# Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with English Chamber Orchestra
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with English Chamber Orchestra, Norman Knight, Philip Ledger, Emanuel Hurwitz, Richard Adeney
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with English Chamber Orchestra, Philip Ledger, Emanuel Hurwitz, Richard Adeney
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with English Chamber Orchestra
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1060
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
with Tess Miller, Nicholas Kraemer, Christopher Hogwood, Carmel Kaine
Conducted by Neville Marriner

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
with Nicholas Kraemer, Christopher Hogwood, William Bennett
Conducted by Neville Marriner

Disc 1:
01. Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F, BWV 1046 – 1. (Allegro)
02. Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F, BWV 1046 – 2. Adagio
03. Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F, BWV 1046 – 3. Allegro
04. Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F, BWV 1046 – 4. Menuetto: Trio I
05. Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F, BWV 1046 – 5. Polacca; Trio II
06. Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F, BWV 1047 – 1. (Allegro)
07. Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F, BWV 1047 – 2. Andante
08. Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F, BWV 1047 – 3. Allegro assai
09. Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G, BWV 1048 – 1. (Allegro)
10. Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G, BWV 1048 – 3. Allegro
11. Brandenburg Concerto No.4 in G, BWV 1049 – 1. Allegro
12. Brandenburg Concerto No.4 in G, BWV 1049 – 2. Andante
13. Brandenburg Concerto No.4 in G, BWV 1049 – 3. Presto

Also available:  Davis: Bliss - The Beatitudes, Introduction and Allegro, God Save the Queen (24/96 FLAC)

Disc 2:
01. Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D, BWV 1050 – 1. Allegro
02. Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D, BWV 1050 – 2. Affetuoso
03. Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D, BWV 1050 – 3. Allegro
04. Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B flat, BWV 1051 – 1. —
05. Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B flat, BWV 1051 – 2. Adagio ma non tanto
06. Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B flat, BWV 1051 – 3. Allegro
07. Concerto for 2 Harpsichords, Strings, and Continuo in C minor, BWV 1060 – 1. Allegro
08. Concerto for 2 Harpsichords, Strings, and Continuo in C minor, BWV 1060 – 2. Adagio
09. Concerto for 2 Harpsichords, Strings, and Continuo in C minor, BWV 1060 – 3. Allegro
10. Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 – Allegro
11. Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 – Largo
12. Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056 – Presto

Fine Performance on Modern Instruments

If recorders, natural trumpets, etc., are important to you in performances of Bach’s music, stay away from this performance. If, however, you like transcriptions, Bach played on the piano, etc., I can whole-heartedly recommend this recording.
The performances here use flutes, trumpets with pistons, etc. I expect that the violins have the longer necks that have been in use since the nineteenth century, and that many other canons of authentic baroque performance are violated. These are not, however, the lushc, romantic performances common in the 1960s. The tempi are slower than typically used today, but not much. The performing group is relatively small. The violinists employ vibrato sparingly.
Most important, Britten conducts with a great understanding of and love for the music, and the musicians play wonderfully.
And, of course, the set is a bargain.

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