|November, 2000 update: these recordings have been re-issued in a box set by Accord, click here for details.|
Review by Jan Hanford:
It was when I first heard this recording in the late 1960's that I fell in love with the Brandenburg Concertos. This performance is more beautiful than any I've heard and this is my recording of choice when I want to listen to the Brandenburgs. Originally, I had it on vinyl and cassette by Nonesuch, who never released it on cd so I was delighted to find this reissue on the French label, Accord.
The best thing that stands out most for me are the tempos. My disappointment with many of the contemporary "authentic instruments" orchestras is that they play too fast. I don't know if this is a reflection of the frenetic world we live in or some new academic dogma that this is how they should be played but the result, for me, is that they diminish the beauty of the music and place technique above musical sensibility. Their performances are certainly flawless but they are also often cold.
That is just one of the reasons that I love this recording so much. Here, the tempos are energetic without being frantic, the interpretations are sensitive without going overboard and there is a beautiful cohesiveness to the performance. These musicians are playing "together" and presenting a unified whole which I rarely hear in more modern recordings. Each of the solos are stunning and the instrument then blends back into the orchestra perfectly. Another thing I love is the phrasing: I don't know how to describe it other than it just "works" and never feels awkward or overly inventive (another of my problems with some of the modern interpretations). How beautiful it can be when they simply play the music!
Unfortunately, this recording is very difficult to find and is listed as out-of-print.