Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

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Fergus
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Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:22 pm

While compiling a list of my small collection of the JSB Brandenburg Concertos I noticed that my collection consisted entirely of HIP recordings. I would be curious to hear a really good sensitive performance on modern instruments for comparison purposes....could members recommend something suitable please :?: :idea:

Edit: as I do not have the ability to play LPs I can only consider recommendations on CD.
Last edited by Fergus on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

John F
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by John F » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:17 pm

The earliest recording of the Brandenburgs that still gets some play was made between the Wars by Adolf Busch and his Busch Chamber Players, with some of the finest soloists of the time including Busch himself as violinist.

As Bach's greatest hits (beyond the "Air on the G string"), these concertos were recorded time and again by major instrumentalists and conductors. The only concessions to period instruments were a high trumpet for #5, recorders (sometimes) for #4, and a harpsichord (sometimes) playing continuo and as soloist in #5. If you want to hear what Koussevitzky, Klemperer, Reiner, Horenstein, Szymon Goldberg, and even Alfred Cortot and Paul Sacher, made of this music, or to hear the Karl Münchinger recording that was generally favored a half century ago, you may be able to chase them down. Of these, probably only Reiner's has much in common with present-day HIP performances, if only in the choice of tempos.
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by moldyoldie » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:42 pm

Both are recorded in warm and vivid analog with the English Chamber Orchestra: The comparatively slow and stately Benjamin Britten on London/Decca from the '60s and the livelier Raymond Leppard on Philips from the '70s.
Last edited by moldyoldie on Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chalkperson
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:05 pm

I own and enjoy, these recordings...

Benjamin Britten - English Chamber Orchestra
Claudio Abbado - Orchestra Mozart
Szymon Goldberg - Netherlands CO
Murray Perahia - ASMF
I Musici
Sir Neville Marriner - ASMF
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absinthe
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by absinthe » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:56 pm

My favourite modern rendition of these concertos is by the Hamburg Chamber Orchestra / Harry Newstone on 2 Saga LPs that I transcribed to CD.

I don't think these LPs were issued on CD. Shame.

Marc
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Marc » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:35 pm

I like the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, conducted by Jan Willem de Vriend: modern instruments with lots of 'authentic' (sorry 'bout using that word) influences in their playing. Fresh and vivid performances. Very nice to listen to on a beautiful day in spring. :D
Might be difficult to get outside Europe, though.

Image

http://www.tower.com/bach-brandenburg-c ... /106552392

And even though I'm not really into Karl Richter's sewing machine Bach, I've always liked this one (perhaps influenced by childhood memories :)), with a very weak spot for the blaring 8) 2nd:

Image

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/alb ... m_id=58891

Heck148
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Heck148 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:27 pm

I don't listen to the B'burgs on original instruments - the wind instruments esp do not sound good on the wonderful solo parts...these parts are tough, even on modern instruments.

I like the Marriner/ASMF complete set overall...for 3-6 I like Reiner's early set - definitely an early HIP approach to these masterpieces..

try Levine/CSO members - Music from Ravinia for #s 2 and 5. #2 is the best I've ever heard, really quite spectacular...Levine shows some real keyboard chops on #5...

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:23 am

absinthe wrote:My favourite modern rendition of these concertos is by the Hamburg Chamber Orchestra / Harry Newstone on 2 Saga LPs that I transcribed to CD.

I don't think these LPs were issued on CD. Shame.
Thank you for that absinthe but unfortunately I do not have the ability to play LPs so I can only consider CDs which is something that I neglected to specify. My original post has now been edited to include that comment.

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:30 am

John F wrote:The earliest recording of the Brandenburgs that still gets some play was made between the Wars by Adolf Busch and his Busch Chamber Players, with some of the finest soloists of the time including Busch himself as violinist.
Thanks for that John....what is the sound quality like on that recording?

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:41 am

Thank you all for your replies so far and as usual there is lots to consider....I am checking them out already.

Both Chalkie and Heck148 have recommended Marriner/ASMF and there seems to be two sets, one on Philips and the other on EMI; is there a preference here?

DavidRoss
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by DavidRoss » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:47 am

The only modern instrument set I still have is the old Paillard Chamber Orchestra recording on Erato. My preference for Historically Informed Performances on Period Instruments (HIPPI) is so great, however (largely due to the lovely scrunchy strings and deliciously fruity winds), that I haven't listened to it in years. But today is go-for-baroque day (I almost always listen to baroque music on Sunday mornings). Maybe I'll dust off the old LPs and fire up the turntable!
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Heck148
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Heck148 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:01 am

Fergus wrote:Thank you all for your replies so far and as usual there is lots to consider....I am checking them out already.

Both Chalkie and Heck148 have recommended Marriner/ASMF and there seems to be two sets, one on Philips and the other on EMI; is there a preference here?
I have the Philips set, which is very good. note, tho - that for #2, the stratospheric F trumpet solo is played on horn by Barry Tuckwell, [down an octave]. it's sounds good, but if you want the trumpet version - go for Levine's wonderful Music from Ravinia disc [Herseth] or one of the Andre versions...

premont
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by premont » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:08 am

Konzertgruppe der Schola Cantorum Basiliensis / August Wenzinger / Archiv (LP only 1950-53) Partially played on period instruments but the playing style is not, what we think of as HIP to day, but rather informed compared to the time of recording.

Südwestdeutsches Kammerorkester, Pforzheim / Friedrich Tilegant / Eurodisc (rec. ca 1961) "Preauthentic". Tilegants first Brandenburg cycle. Available on CD from Japan.

Pro Musica Orchester, München / Kurt Redel / Erato (LP only rec,1962) "Preauthentic", Redels second Brandenburg cycle.

Saarländisches Kammerorkester / Karl Ristenpart / Accord rec.ca 1965 "Preauthentic", Ristenparts second Brandenburg cycle.

Combattimento Consort, Amsterdam / de Vriend / Chall rec.1996 Modern instruments but HIP style

josé echenique
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by josé echenique » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:59 am

I think the Adolf Busch recording is the most interesting and rewarding of the modern instrument versions. Though there is a very new recording in DECCA with Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus orchestra that I haven´t heard yet.

Back in the 70´s I went to a most interesting concert-lecture in Cal Arts. Some musicians played the Brandenburg First Concerto first with modern instruments and then with period instruments. It was amazing how much easier it was to balance the natural horns with the strings than the modern ones. Everything fit perfectly, it was obvious that Bach composed his music for VERY different instruments.

maestrob
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by maestrob » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:02 am

Highly recommended with I Musici, and it includes the complete violin concerti as well:

Image

http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Brandenburg- ... 683&sr=1-1

You can get it used for less than $6.00 (plus shipping)!

Marc
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Marc » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:45 am

Heck148 wrote:I don't listen to the B'burgs on original instruments - the wind instruments esp do not sound good on the wonderful solo parts...these parts are tough, even on modern instruments.
These parts are tough indeed.
But I don't share your view as a general opinion about performances on period instruments. I know it's off-topic, but I'd suggest to check out the HIP-recording of Musica Antiqua Köln with Reinhard Goebel, if it's still available. It's the best I've heard yet, although I do not know them all by far. But this ensemble really had got a beautiful tone, very good instrumentalists and played their baroque music with unbridled energy.
Heck148 wrote: I like the Marriner/ASMF complete set overall...for 3-6 I like Reiner's early set - definitely an early HIP approach to these masterpieces..
I like Marriner in f.i. Händel, Haydn and Mozart .... but I never came to grips with his Bach. His EMI Brandenburgers make me fall asleep, to be honest.
No problem of course: tastes differ. :)

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:17 pm

As another poster mentioned, on modern instruments I've always liked Karl Richter's Brandenburgs. They are the only recordings that don't sound slow and rhythmically loose when compared to HIP performances (to my ears, at least.)

Heck148
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Heck148 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:00 pm

Marc wrote:the HIP-recording of Musica Antiqua Köln with Reinhard Goebel, if it's still available. It's the best I've heard yet, although I do not know them all by far. But this ensemble really had got a beautiful tone, very good instrumentalists and played their baroque music with unbridled energy.
I have trouble getting past the lame brass tones, the valveless horn braying and quacking and the thim, chirpy, twittery quality of the woodwinds...
Bach wrote beautiful lines....they should sound beautiful, not like some cosmic struggle to produce an even scale.
the gut string sound has improved over the years....a little vibrato, perhaps, to remedy the dull flat tone quality, and HIP groups for the most part, thankfully, eschew the dreadful "egg-shaped note" approach:

<> <> <> <> on every note. nothing disrupts a melodic line more destructively than that annoying mannerism, so common amongst early HIP groups...

Prometheus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Prometheus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:01 pm

In addition to the mentioned Marriner set I find this box set by Menuhin to be of good quality.

Image

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:37 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Fergus wrote:Thank you all for your replies so far and as usual there is lots to consider....I am checking them out already.

Both Chalkie and Heck148 have recommended Marriner/ASMF and there seems to be two sets, one on Philips and the other on EMI; is there a preference here?
I have the Philips set, which is very good. note, tho - that for #2, the stratospheric F trumpet solo is played on horn by Barry Tuckwell, [down an octave]. it's sounds good, but if you want the trumpet version - go for Levine's wonderful Music from Ravinia disc [Herseth] or one of the Andre versions...
Thank you for the clarification :wink:

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:41 pm

josé echenique wrote:Back in the 70´s I went to a most interesting concert-lecture in Cal Arts. Some musicians played the Brandenburg First Concerto first with modern instruments and then with period instruments. It was amazing how much easier it was to balance the natural horns with the strings than the modern ones. Everything fit perfectly, it was obvious that Bach composed his music for VERY different instruments.
I am not a musician of any note but I do agree with you on that point....which is one of the things that attracted me to period performances in the first place.

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:45 pm

Marc wrote: I know it's off-topic, but I'd suggest to check out the HIP-recording of Musica Antiqua Köln with Reinhard Goebel, if it's still available. It's the best I've heard yet, although I do not know them all by far. But this ensemble really had got a beautiful tone, very good instrumentalists and played their baroque music with unbridled energy.
I do actually own the Musica Antiqua Koln Brandenburg Concertos and I agree that they are wonderful :wink:

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:48 pm

ContrapunctusIX wrote:As another poster mentioned, on modern instruments I've always liked Karl Richter's Brandenburgs. They are the only recordings that don't sound slow and rhythmically loose when compared to HIP performances (to my ears, at least.)
That is an interesting comment as I have not been very keen on Richter's JSB Cantatas.

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:49 pm

Thank you all for the recommendations. Please keep them coming....especially the comments which are most informative.

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Marc » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:56 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Marc wrote:the HIP-recording of Musica Antiqua Köln with Reinhard Goebel, if it's still available. It's the best I've heard yet, although I do not know them all by far. But this ensemble really had got a beautiful tone, very good instrumentalists and played their baroque music with unbridled energy.
I have trouble getting past the lame brass tones, the valveless horn braying and quacking and the thim, chirpy, twittery quality of the woodwinds...
Bach wrote beautiful lines....they should sound beautiful, not like some cosmic struggle to produce an even scale.
the gut string sound has improved over the years....a little vibrato, perhaps, to remedy the dull flat tone quality, and HIP groups for the most part, thankfully, eschew the dreadful "egg-shaped note" approach:

<> <> <> <> on every note. nothing disrupts a melodic line more destructively than that annoying mannerism, so common amongst early HIP groups...
I think our tastes in Bach differ quite a lot. :D

I prefer historic instruments by far, not because 'historic informed people' tell us so, but because I simply love their sound in this music, no matter if strings, wind or brass instruments are the issue. Descriptions like lame or dull are quit the opposite to my own listening experiences. But, as I said before: tastes differ.

Heck148
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Heck148 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:25 pm

Marc wrote:I think our tastes in Bach differ quite a lot. :D
I guess. I like Bach quite full-bodied and visceral, even when using smaller ensembles...the inadequacies and shortcomings of the original instruments quickly become a distraction to me, so that I'm not hearing or enjoying the music, I'm listening to the flaws in the performance. this is not enjoyable for me.

I view the original instrument issue very much as I see the "health food" argument:

<<we should love health food, because it's so good for us!!
yeh, but it tastes like sh*t!! :D :P

<< We should like original instrument performances because they're "authentic", and historically informed"!!
yeh, but it sounds like sh*t!!
:D :P
Descriptions like lame or dull are quit the opposite to my own listening experiences.
happens all the time for me when listening to OI..

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:37 pm

Fergus wrote:
ContrapunctusIX wrote:As another poster mentioned, on modern instruments I've always liked Karl Richter's Brandenburgs. They are the only recordings that don't sound slow and rhythmically loose when compared to HIP performances (to my ears, at least.)
That is an interesting comment as I have not been very keen on Richter's JSB Cantatas.
I think you'd be surprised. I prefer the HIP approach but Richter's Brandenburgs aren't too slow, in contrast to his very old-fashioned Orchestral Suites. And I happen to like his choral JSB performances, you've just got to be open to a very different approach from what you're used to with HIP...

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:40 pm

ContrapunctusIX wrote:I think you'd be surprised. I prefer the HIP approach but Richter's Brandenburgs aren't too slow, in contrast to his very old-fashioned Orchestral Suites. And I happen to like his choral JSB performances, you've just got to be open to a very different approach from what you're used to with HIP...
That is a fair comment and ultimately what I am looking for and the reason for the thread in the first place :wink:

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by bombasticDarren » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:53 pm

i have been reading this thread with interest - my Brandenburg collection is similar to Fergus' in that it is solely made up of HIP. I will try the Richter set next payday I think :D

Fergus
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:26 pm

bombasticDarren wrote:i have been reading this thread with interest - my Brandenburg collection is similar to Fergus' in that it is solely made up of HIP. I will try the Richter set next payday I think :D
Great....you can tell me what you think of it :wink: :lol: :D

Seriously though....I am somewhat tempted myself.

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:41 pm

Fergus wrote:
bombasticDarren wrote:i have been reading this thread with interest - my Brandenburg collection is similar to Fergus' in that it is solely made up of HIP. I will try the Richter set next payday I think :D
Great....you can tell me what you think of it :wink: :lol: :D

Seriously though....I am somewhat tempted myself.
my advice to you both is to ignore the haters. There is exactly one orchestral piece by Bach on the Voyager Golden Record, Brandenburg No. 2 first movement. And it's played by none other than Karl Richter and the Munich Bach Orchestra :P

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by slofstra » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:48 pm

The Szymon Goldberg set mentioned by Chalkie was available at Berkshire very reasonably priced. You may want to check; that is where I got it, and the Brandenburg's are excellent, as are the other recordings.

I very much dislike the Menuhin set. We've discussed it before but Menuhin seems to think that the Brandenburgs are violin + backup band.

Finally, I've never heard anything better than Tafelmusik on period instruments for the Brandenburgs. I also have Il Giardino Armanico but find them too exuberant.

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by Fergus » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:46 pm

slofstra wrote:Finally, I've never heard anything better than Tafelmusik on period instruments for the Brandenburgs.
Yes that one is high on my Wish List....I just have not purchased it yet, but I will :wink:

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by DavidRoss » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:58 am

slofstra wrote:Finally, I've never heard anything better than Tafelmusik on period instruments for the Brandenburgs.
Spoken like a true Canadian patriot! :wink:
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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by bombasticDarren » Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:26 pm

Did anyone else listen to the John Eliot Gardiner/English Baroque Soloists set?

I am actually looking forward to hearing the above perform the 'Brandenburgs' in person at this years BBC Proms :)

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Re: Brandenburg Concertos on modern instruments.

Post by premont » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:33 pm

bombasticDarren wrote:Did anyone else listen to the John Eliot Gardiner/English Baroque Soloists set?
It is very good. Played as rather small scaled chamber music and the soloists are outstanding.

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