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Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046, BWV 1047, BWV 1050
Performed by Jeanne Lamon & Tafelmusik
Review of Brandenburg Concertos by Tafelmusik

1

J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 []

Jeanne Lamon

Tafelmusik

-

Sony

Nov 1993, Apr 1994

2-CD / TT: 93:27

Recorded at Glenn Gould Studio,Toronto,Canada.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Kirk McElheran wrote (October 24, 2001):
Tafelmusik is a Canadian ensemble that plays baroque music on period instruments. They have recorded Bachıs violin concertos, two cantatas, motets, as well as the present recording of the Brandenburg Concertos. They are quite popular in Canada, apparently, having won several prizes, and have recorded extensively since 1982.

Bachıs Brandenburg Concertos are a set of six concertos strongly influenced by the Italian concerto tradition, and such composers as Torelli, Albinoni, and especially Vivaldi. In many cases he uses instruments that were not widely used in Italian concertos, such as horns and woodwinds, and his treatment of the thematic material in these works is unique.

Concerto no. 1 in F major is a difficult one to play. It is scored for horns, oboes and bassoons, together with strings, making it hard to obtain a balanced sound, and its tempo is difficult to pin down (it is not marked with any tempo; it is up to the performers to adopt the rhythm they want). It is actually not the best concerto to open a recording of these works with - the tempo chosen here, for the first movement, sounds drab and lifeless. In addition, the horns tend to stand out a bit much at times; the sound is unequal, and complicated. It gets better in the second movement, the adagio, whose tempo is naturally slower, and where the horns are not as present. The third movement, the allegro, has a much more lively tempo, and almost redeems this performance, with Jeanne Lamonıs piccolo violin sounding excellent. The final movement sounds a bit stodgy, again, like the first. This gives a poor overall feeling at the end of the concerto. I must say that I have yet to hear a truly lively performance of this concerto. It is often played as a sort of pre-symphony, removing all of its energy, and this recording is no different.

Some of the other concertos suffer from the same problems of tempo; however, the overall sound improves in the andante of Concerto no. 2. The recorder is present, and the strings stay in the background just enough to not be intrusive. Marion Verbruggenıs recorder here is excellent. But the oboe in the third movement of this concerto, allegro assai, doesnıt pass muster; the high notes are shrill and uneven, almost uncomfortable to listen to.

The tempo sounds more appropriate in the first unnamed movement of Concerto no. 3. There is joy, here, and the strings clearly express this; they are energetic, and the overall sound is fine. The allegro is also a fine performance. The fast movements of Concerto no. 4 also sound very good; there is a fine spirit here. The long allegro of Concerto no. 5 also shows this same spirit, although the long solo harpsichord cadenza that gives this movement such a unique sound, seems a bit hurried, and the sound is not that good - the instrument sounds distant, even when playing alone.

This is an uneven recording. Some of the concertos show a great deal of verve and energy, while others are simple stodgy. I cannot truly recommend this set, because the overall feeling from this recording is not very joyful - and this is some of Bachıs most joyful music.

 

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051: Details
Recordings:
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Güttler’s Brandenburgs | Review: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 5 - conducted by Karl Richter | Review of Brandenburg Concertos by Tafelmusik
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
Brandenburg Concertos - R. Alessandrini | Brandenburg Concertos - R. Egarr | Brandenburg Concertos - N. Harnoncourt | Brandenburg Concertos - O. Klemperer

Tafelmusik: Short History | Jeanne Lamon | Recordings of Vocal Works
Individual Recordings:
Coffee Cantata / Peasant Cantata - Jeanne Lamon & Tafelmusik | Review of Brandenburg Concertos by Tafelmusik

Instrumental Works: Recordings, Reviews & Discussions - Main Page | Order of Discussion
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