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Bach for more

New download of Brandenburg concertos offers spectacular sound quality

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You say that, as a classical collector, there are at least 74 recordings that you need to buy before investing in yet another version of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos? That you already have a version of choice (possibly Alessandrini's or Gardiner's most recent account), or maybe several, that aren't likely to be superseded in your affections any time soon? Listen to a few excerpts from this set on the Linn Records website and you may decide that there is still room on your culture shelf for one more set. 

The Dunedin Consort have already made a number of lavishly-praised recordings of music by Bach, including accounts of the St John and St Matthew passions and the Mass In B Minor. I have not heard those, and have held off after learning that they used the one-voice-per-part performance style in the choral passages, an approach, however correct historically, that I have resisted so far. But this recording of the Brandenburgs, their first of purely instrumental music, is so close to my personal ideal that I may return to the Linn site and do some more downloading.

As the First Brandenburg Concerto begins, listeners who know Gardiner's account will notice that the horns have the same brash and raw sound. In his detailed notes to these performances, conductor John Butt points out that in courts like Coethen, where Bach was working at the time when these concertos were composed, hunting stood in for military might, and that the horn players, who were usually also trumpeters, where the highest-paid musicians in court orchestras. The more horn players of high quality that a prince had in his employ, the richer his court appeared.

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