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Bach: Nouveaux Brandebourgeois / Milnes, Montreal Baroque Band

Bach / Bande Montreal Baroque / Milnes
Release Date: 05/29/2012 
Label:  Atma Classique   Catalog #: 2565   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Baroque Band
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ATMA presents six 'New' concertos inspired by Bach's highly colourful and creative sequence of orchestrations of the Brandeburgs. This historical reconstruction has been done by scholar and oboist Bruce Haynes. These concertos are not meant as serious reconstructions, merely as speculative trials to demonstrate the possibilities for instrumental treatment of Bach's rich fund of musical inventions contained in the cantatas and over vocal works.

La Bande Montréal Baroque brings together some of Montreal's finest early music performers. Under the Artistic directions of Susie Napper, the ensemble was created especially for the Montreal Baroque Festival, wich is held in June since 2003 in Old Montréal.

Read more R E V I E W S:

Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos – those perennial Baroque crowd-pleasers beloved by both modern chamber ensembles and early-music groups – are getting a sequel.

In 2010, the late oboist and musicologist Bruce Haynes conceived the idea that Bach might have reused some of his cantatas in constructing the Brandenburg Concertos. After all, Bach was a chronic recycler, both of his own work and that of other composers, and while on deadline he would often rework an existing tune for a new occasion. Haynes chose six cantatas as a basis for a set of “new” Brandenburgs and began transcribing the vocal lines for the instrumental forces used in the original Brandenburgs. He had orchestrated three of them before his untimely death in May 2011, during what was supposed to be low-risk heart surgery. He was 69. His widow, cellist Susie Napper, finished the set and oversaw this recording.

The Bande Montréal Baroque presents all six concertos, each with a different configuration. The concertos are numbered seven to 12 and are structurally modeled after the six originals. Horn, trumpet, oboe and recorders all make appearances. The first features prominent solo trumpet lines. The bouncy third, for strings, omits the middle movement just as the original does.

The most interesting of the batch may be Concerto No. 11 for oboe, harpsichord, strings and bass continuo, which features lively virtuosic turns for oboist Matthew Jennejohn and harpsichordist Erin Helyard.

The performances, conducted by Eric Milnes, are appropriately zesty and without a whiff of mustiness, as they should be.

-- WQXR, Album of the Week [May 27, 2012]

"Something a little new and wildly ingenious here. Since (A) Bach had absolutely nothing whatsoever against transcribing his own and others’ music for other musical forces and (B), a large quantity of the music Bach left at his death was lost to history, why not believe that one of the eternal classical masterpieces the world now knows as Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos was just part of a huge stock of lost Bach concertos that may have numbered as many as 100? And further, why not believe they can be simulated by taking movements from Bach’s Cantatas, transcribing vocal lines for the instrumental forces familiar from the Brandenburgs and present the whole merrily synthetic thing as “Nouveau Brandebourgeois” concertos? The Brandenburgs they’re not, but you’ll be joyfully surprised by how plausible these synthetic Bach pieces are. Good fun, as all such inventiveness should be."

-- Buffalo News [May 20, 2012]
3621510.az_BACH_HAYNES_Brandenburg_Concertos.html

BACH/HAYNES Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 7–12 Eric Milnes, cond; Bande Montréal Baroque ATMA 2565 (64:00)


Purists may well quake at this concept, a “reconstruction” of the Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 7–12. The idea is that the Brandenburg Concertos we all know and love are but part of a larger corpus of work written for the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig that is now lost. Bruce Haynes (who unfortunately died last year: 1942–2011) writes in the booklet that “these concertos are not meant as serious reconstructions, merely as speculative trials to demonstrate the possibilities for instrumental treatment of Bach’s rich fund of musical inventions contained in the cantatas and other vocal works.” The instrumentation of these six equates with the earlier six (so the scoring for No. 7 is the same as that for No. 1, No. 8 as No. 2, and so on).


The “Seventh” Concerto has a bubbly, active first movement (from BWV 34), festive trumpets recalling the first of the Christmas Oratorio cantatas. The performance is very spirited indeed, very pointed phrasing and superb staccatos. The scoring is for trumpet, oboe, violin, horn, bassoon, timpani, strings, and continuo. The “Eighth” Concerto is perhaps more genteel (C Major for recorder, traverse, oboe da caccia, bassoon, violin, strings, and continuo), with the recorder delightful in the first movement (from BWV 74). The finale (BWV 65) has a real spring in its step.


Scalic articulation is a thing of wonder in “No. 9”’s first movement (from BWV 11); there are only two movements in this one, of course, and as it turns out the second is less than two minutes long (and that includes an Adagio introduction). The initial Andante (BWV 235) of the woodwind-dominated “No. 10” is the epitome of calm, in effect a chamber-music conversation between the participants. Two faster movements introduce speed but, in the case of the second movement, there is no real interruption to the prevailing mood; that is left to the bustling, properly Presto finale (BWV 235).


There is a certain Handelian tinge to the first movement of “No. 11” (from BWV 35), and to the stately second (BWV 106). The exchange between solo violin and oboe in the latter movement, plus the occasional, very effective, harpsichord solo (superbly given by Erin Helyard), add up to pure joy. The slow movement is mesmeric, a jewel among jewels, and special mention is due to Matthew Jennejohn’s oboe for his soul-speaking eloquence. The finale is bright as a button.


Finally, “No. 12,” the one that mirrors the dark scoring of the real No. 6, makes quite a powerful way to end the disc. The ghost of stately dance informs the first movement (BWV 163), and all praise is accorded to the players, whose wondrous articulation and true awareness of the musical landscape makes for a memorable journey. The counterpoint of the finale is a joy to experience.


The effect of this disc is fascinating, and possibly just as important, invigorating. The sheer zest of these performances is irresistible, and heard in a clean, focused recording such as this (but with no hint of dryness), there is little doubt this disc is bound to bring much joy. The ethos behind it is more sound than it may appear on first glance, too. Arrangements such as these were the norm in Bach’s time, of course, and there is almost the feel of musical creation as the performances take place. The more I thought about it, the more my initial doubts about this disc evaporated. Remarkable.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto 'Brandebourgeois' No. 7 in D major, for trumpet, oboe, violin, horn, bassoon, timpani, stri by Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Baroque Band
Date of Recording: 06/2011 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, 
Length: 8 Minutes 21 Secs. 
2. Concerto 'Brandebourgeois' No. 8 in C major, for recorder, traverso, oboe da caccia, bassoon, violin by Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Date of Recording: 06/2011 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, 
Length: 10 Minutes 31 Secs. 
3. Concerto 'Brandebourgeois' No. 9 in D major, for strings and continuo by Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Date of Recording: 06/2011 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, 
Length: 6 Minutes 35 Secs. 
4. Concerto 'Brandebourgeois' No. 10 in D minor, for 2 alto recorders, 2 voice flutes, bassoon, strings by Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Date of Recording: 06/2011 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, 
Length: 11 Minutes 33 Secs. 
5. Concerto 'Brandebourgeois' No. 11 in D minor, for oboe, harpsichord, strings & continuo by Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Date of Recording: 06/2011 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, 
Length: 14 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6. Concerto 'Brandebourgeois' No. 12 in E minor, for 2 violas da gamba, 2 cellos & continuo by Bruce Haynes
Conductor:  Eric Milnes
Date of Recording: 06/2011 
Venue:  Église Saint-Augustin, Mirabel, Québec, 
Length: 10 Minutes 36 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Brandenburg Concerto No. 7 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): I. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34: O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 7 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): II. Adagio (after J.S. Bach's Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150: Sinfonia for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 7 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): III. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31: Sonata for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 8 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): I. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 74: Nichts kann mich erretten for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 8 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): II. Affettuoso (after J.S. Bach's Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 99: Wenn des Kreuzes Bitterkeiten for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 8 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): III. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65: Nimm mich dir zu eigen hin for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 9 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): I. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Ascension Oratorio: Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11: Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 9 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): II. Adagio - Allegro (after J.S. Bach's O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34: Friede uber Israe for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 10 (after J.S. Bach's Mass and Cantata): I. Andante (after J.S. Bach's Mass in G minor, BWV 235: Kyrie for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 10 (after J.S. Bach's Mass and Cantata): II. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Jesu, der du meine Seele, BWV 78: Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 10 (after J.S. Bach's Mass and Cantata): III. Presto (after J.S. Bach's Mass in G minor, BWV 235: Cum Sancto Spiritu for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 11 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas and Concerto): I. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35: Concerto for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 11 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas and Concerto): II. Adagio (after J.S. Bach's Concerto for 3 Keyboards in D minor, BWV 1063: II. Alla siciliana for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 11 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas and Concerto): III. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35: Sinfonia)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 12 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): I. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Nur jedem das Seine, BWV 163: Lass mein Herz die Munze sein for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 12 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): II. Andante (after J.S. Bach's Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80: Wie selig sind doch die, die Gott im Munde tragen for orchestra)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 12 (after J.S. Bach's Cantatas): III. Allegro (after J.S. Bach's Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fallt, BWV 18: Sinfonia for orchestra)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Almost Brandenburgs August 28, 2013 By Jim  D. See All My Reviews "The late Bruce Haynes based this project on the fact that Bach often recycled his own compositions into other forms. Imagining a whole series of concertos, lost to modern musicians, which were then used as material for the cantatas, he retrofits some of those movements into "new" Brandenburg concerti. The scoring mimics, but does not exactly duplicate, that of the originals (the third of each set, for example, is just for strings). Does it work? Yes and no. There is a real difference between the way Bach wrote for accompanied voices and for instruments alone--and that doesn't come across here. The results sound more like leftover movements from the suites. But that's a quibble: the pieces are fine, and are well-played by Montreal Baroque (though I can't warm to all the low strings lumbering through Concerto #12). The liner notes explain the rules of the reconstruction, and give the sources for all the music adapted." Report Abuse
 A disappointment, given expectations October 27, 2012 By Walter M. (Reston, VA) See All My Reviews "I ordered this recording based upon hearing a few excerpts on our local classical music radio station and because the idea of more Bach, actually unfamiliar to me, based upon orchestral portions of his cantatas, some of which I've heard and all of which I liked, appealed to me. Maybe it was the performances but for me the music didn't "swing". Compared w/ some of the many outstanding performances of the original six Brandenburg Concertos, these seemed to me plodding and lacking in feeling. It may be of interest to musicologists or other academics in the field, but I found the pieces tending towards dull. Sorry." Report Abuse
 Excellent October 24, 2012 By Carl Kohn (Fairfield, PA) See All My Reviews "The recording is excellent. The style and nature of JSB is reflected in the new arrangement of JSB's material, and in the performance ably conducted by Eric Milnes. The fact that Eric, the conductor, is my nephew may affect my obtaining the recording, but does not, I hope, affect my appreciation of the fine recording this version of what Brandenburg Concerti 7-12 may have been." Report Abuse
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