J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Brandenburg Concertos

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Benjamin Britten
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Benjamin Britten; English Chamber Orchestra & Neville Marriner; Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (*)
Soloists:Emanual Hurwitz and Carmel Kaine, violin
Peter Graeme and Tess Miller, oboe
Ifor James and Anthony Randall, horn
Richard Adeney, William Bennett and Norman Knight, flute
David Mason, trumpet
Philip Ledger, harpsichord
Individual Works:Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046
Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049
Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
Concerto No. 6 in B-flat major, BWV 1051
Concerto for Violin, Oboe and Strings, in D Minor, BWV 1051
Concerto for Flute and Strings, in G Minor, BWV 1056
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:London
Catalog Number:443 847-2
Year Released/Recorded:1968 / 1973-74
Total Playing Time:127:46
Comments:Jordan Sayers said:

My first, and least favorite, recording of the Brandenburgs. While I tend to refrain from negative reviews, this must be written to warn any persons new to Bach (I'm sure some come here to receive recommendations). Yes: Borders.com states that this is an "essential recording". I don't know who at Borders finds this "essential", as none of my friends even put the Britten recording in their top five Brandenburgs. The sound is flat and lifeless. At times, the harpsichord level is so faint it almost appears absent. The filler material conducted by Marriner isn't thrilling, either. One could serve his/her need for superb Brandenburgs by purchasing the Gustav Leonhardt (my personal favorite of ANY Bach recording) reissued on Sony/Seon. Why anybody would purchase the Britten recording is beyond me. There, I said it.

john heberling said:

My first and FAVORITE recording of the Brandenburgs! I have several copies of the Brandenburgs, all of which were recommended to me by others. Britten's Brandenburgs are singular in their tempo, especially Nos. 3, 4, and 6, which, as Britten interprets them, can keep you awake on a long drive through, say, New Mexico or west Texas or North Dakota. Britten has provided a unique interpretation, which is why so many reviewers rave about them. Not being a purist or an "expert," I can only tell you that these are FUN to listen to, while all my other recordings find me looking for the crank on the side of the CD player in an attempt to speed up the thing. These are probably not the concertos for the purist; rather, I highly recommend them for either the person looking for a different approach to the Brandenburgs, or a person who has never heard them before and knows little about what one is "supposed to" enjoy about classical and barroque music.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Guilherme Furtado Filho
  • Jordan Sayers
  • john heberling
Date First Submitted:12/31/1995