J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Brandenburg Concertos

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Peter Schreier
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Kammerorchester C.Ph.E Bach
Soloists:Bourge - Oboe
Graffenauer - Flute
Hardenberger - Trumpet
Haupt - Recorder
Preston - Harpsichord
Rosenbusch - Violin
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
BWV 1064
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Philips
Catalog Number:434 918-2
Year Released/Recorded:1992
Total Playing Time:2.10'07"
Comments:Alastair Asher said:

I got this recording to hear what Simon Preston would be like in the 5th Brandenburg Concerto, having listened to his many excellent organ performances of Bach. I knew he had fancied himself as a bit of a harpsichordist earlier on in his career, but he has spent nearly all his time as an organist and chorus master, and been excellent at both. I am not convinced by organists sitting down to the harpsichord and playing it without having any appreciation for it - I don't think that really works between any different instruments.

In this case, I was fairly disappointed in the recording. His playing of the harpsichord part was OK, but no better than any professional pianist or organist would have played it. Plus Schreier uses modern instruments and the harpsichord sound is inevitably tinny and in the background - he hardly plays any continuo for the same reason. He also plays the harpsichord part of BWV 1044, the triple concerto. The results are similar. Nothing really that good about it.

The rest of the recordings I found likewise awkward. They are caught between baroque style and modern instruments and in this case the results are not convincing. The harpsichord continuo present in all sounds out of place. It even sounds odd as a harpsichord - I don't know if this is because of the combination with modern instruments or what. Tempos get rushed a lot of the time as well. The players seem not to know whether to try to imitate baroque tone (without vibrato) or lapse into the luxuriant rich tone they are used to.

Contains the 3-violin concerto in C major after the 3-harpsichord concerto, which is rare, but again the transcription does not convince me that it was meant to be done like that.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Michel Andre
  • Alastair Asher
Date First Submitted:02/10/1996