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: Collins Classics
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: Consort of London/Robert Haydon Clark
CATALOGUE NO: 30542 (Concertos 1-3); 30552 (Concertos 4-6) DDD Reissue
Faced with a choice of over 20 available versions, a first-time buyer may approach the Brandenburg Concertos in something of a quandary. The Consort of London is essentially a modern-instrument ensemble, but Robert Haydon Clark’s interpretation is clearly influenced by period performance practice. In the second concerto, Haydon Clark opts for the horn rather than the trumpet, and its less strident tone eases some of the problems with balance. And in No. 6 cellos are substituted for Bach’s violas da gamba, producing a darker, more sombre timbre. Technically, the playing is first-rate throughout, with outstanding soloists. Some of the movements sound a little hard-driven, and occasionally the phrasing wants gracefulness. But this is a thought-provoking set with points of interpretation which are well worth exploring. Kate Bolton

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