The best recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos

We bring you the finest recordings of each of Bach's legendary Brandenburg Concertos in an exclusive Apple Music playlist

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The best recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
JS Bach
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The Brandenburg Concertos are one of the greatest musical CVs ever assembled. In 1721 Bach dedicated his score - in flowery French - to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg, not in fulfilment of a commission but more as a thinly disguised application for employment at the Margrave's court.

The title 'Brandenburg Concertos' was dreamed up in the 19th century by Bach's first biographer but, in fact, they were never conceived as a set nor intended specifically for the Margrave - Bach selected them from his back catalogue of works written while Kapellmeister at the court of Cöthen (1717-23).

 

 

Their wide-ranging instrumentation and virtuoso demands were designed to showcase Cöthen's outstanding instrumentalists, whose talents seem to have spurred Bach on to explore the potential of the concerto form itself which he reinvented with each work.

But what are the finest recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos? In our exclusive Apple Music playlist, we bring you six different recordings of Bach's masterpieces, from Apollo's Fire to the English Concert, via Concerto Italiano.

 

Words by Simon Heighes in the May 2012 issue of BBC Music Magazine.

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