Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1; Brandenburg Concerto No. 2; Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Brandenburg Concerto No. 5; Brandenburg Concerto No. 6

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1; Brandenburg Concerto No. 2; Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Brandenburg Concerto No. 5; Brandenburg Concerto No. 6
PERFORMER: Brandenburg Consort/Roy Goodman
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66711-2 DDD
This set of the six Brandenburg Concertos, performed by a period-instrument ensemble aptly named the Brandenburg Consort, is part of an ongoing project to record the music of Bach and his contemporaries for Hyperion. Roy Goodman draws some highly polished playing from the Consort, and the solo contributions are refined and well-judged. Particularly pleasing is the subtle interplay between violin, flute and harpsichord in No. 5; and in the problematic No. 2 the trumpet is sensitively balanced so as not to upstage the softer-voiced soloists.

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Goodman makes an interesting decision in the B flat Concerto (No. 6) to abandon the harpsichord continuo in favour of organ and theorbo – less penetrating instruments which effectively enhance the dark sonorities of this work. The concluding Allegro, though, is marred by laborious accents, so that the movement plods rather than lilts – a pity, because Goodman’s direction is usually so full of joie de vivre. These are technically assured performances, beautifully recorded, but for my taste there is a want of colour and drama. Kate Bolton