Saturday, November 21, 2015

Classical Sunday 1: JS Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos

JS Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are amongst the gems of the entire classical repertoire, not only the Baroque period. Composed throughout his career then selected, assembled and reorganised, Bach presented these works to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721. Bach may not have heard these pieces performed as a complete work; the Margrave certainly didn't. He didn't have enough musicians in his Berlin orchestra to have them performed and so the manuscripts went straight into his library and were only discovered over a hundred years later, in 1849! How fortunate for us that they were! The manuscripts were first published the following year, in 1850, and have since then become regularly performed, frequently recorded, and very popular works.

The youtube performance given here is of the 5th concerto, performed by one of the best period performance ensembles, the Freiburger Barockorchester, and filmed at Cothen, where Bach worked as a court musician.

This is the concerto that includes an amazing section written to spotlight the harpsichord. I hope you enjoy it.

c Kenneth Rowley 2015

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