Bach: Brandenburg Concertos

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Brandenburg Concertos
PERFORMER: La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken
CATALOGUE NO: 05472 77308 2 DDD
Recent versions of the Brandenburgs have tended to come from the younger generation of period ensembles such as Tafelmusik and the New London Consort. Now La Petite Bande, founded in 1972, has brought experience back into the frame. The results are impressive.

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Sigiswald Kuijken has already given us outstanding recordings of several Bach works, both as a virtuoso violinist and as leader of La Petite Bande. He combines those roles here with panache, his excellent playing matched by an astute musical sensibility, steeped in a long appreciation of Bach. La Petite Bande’s Brandenburgs are characterised by superb rhythmic buoyancy and a breadth of feeling that allows for all shades of expression.

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My one reservation concerns the second concerto, where Kuijken substitutes a horn for Bach’s tromba (trumpet). His reason is that he couldn’t find anyone able to play the original instrument with the ‘right’ authentic technique, but for me the change spoils the concerto’s brilliant interplay of colours. The horn, sounding an octave lower, simply can’t replicate the trumpet’s high, mercurial flair. Graham Lock