J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Bach 2000

Main Performer
or Conductor:
German Brass/Enrique Crespo
Individual Works:Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (arr. Enrique Crespo)

Concerto in D major after Vivaldi, BWV 972 (arr. Matthias Hoefs)

From Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 (arr. Enrique Crespo)
(1) Sinfonia
(2) Adagio
(3) Duetto e coro

Sinfonia from Cantata BWV 156 (arr. Enrique Crespo)

Suite from the Orchestral Overtures (arr. Enrique Crespo). Contains:
(1) Overture from Suite No. 3 in D BWV 1068
(2) Air from Suite No. 3 in D BWV 1068
(3) Bourree from Suite No. 1 in C BWV 1066
(4) Forlane from Suite No. 1 in C BWV 1066
(5) Badinerie from Suite No. 2 in B Minor BWV 1067

Prelude and Fugue in C Minor BWV 849 (arr. Peter Lawrence)

From Christmas Oratorio BWV 248:
(1) Choral: Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen (arr. Matthias Hoefs)
(2) Choral: Jesus richte mein Beginnen (arr. Matthias Hoefs)
(3) Coro: Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen (arr. Enrique Crespo)
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Kreuz Plus: Musik
Catalog Number:K 1695
Year Released/Recorded:1997
Total Playing Time:66:34
Comments:David Payn said:

A collection of some of Johann Sebastian Bach's instrumental, orchestral and choral works performed by the 10 piece brass ensemble German Brass, recorded in 1997 but released in time for the 250th anniversary celebrations in 2000.

German Brass over the years have made a number of Bach recordings, starting in 1985 with 'Bach 300' but this one is the pick of the bunch. What is apparent in both the transcriptions and the performances is a genuine appreciation of the art and craft of Bach. Many attempts have been made at brass arrangements of Bach's works over the years, with varying degrees of success. These transcriptions, mainly by members of German Brass treat these works with the respect they deserve: something that has not always been the case with brass transcriptions of Bach. Whilst the customary Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and Air from Suite No. 3 are present, they come up sounding fresh and new on this recording, along with previously unchartered territory insofar as brass transcriptions are concerned, such as the Coro 'Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen' from the Christmas Oratorio.

Few of these arrangements would sound as convincing as they do without the stellar quality of performances they receive from German Brass. In technique, musicianship and ensemble they shine from start to finish. Never being 'shouty' as some brass ensembles can be. The inclusion of corno di caccia and flugelhorns (not credited, but apparent on listening) gives plenty of variety in tone colour too.

I confess some bias being an amateur brass player. However, I don't simply suggest all brass arrangements of Bach as acceptable willy-nilly (there are some truly lamentable ones out there, and on disc!) but these are excellent. Purists may balk perhaps, particularly at seeing a suite made from three of the orchestral suites. It certainly made me doubt in one or two cases before hearing the recording but the transcriptions and performances convince throughout. Highly recommended.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • David Payn
Date First Submitted:12/12/2006