WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-4 / Diego Fasolis, Et Al


Release Date: 03/13/2007 
Label:  Arts Music   Catalog #: 47715   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Diego Fasolis
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $23.98
SuperAudio CD:  $18.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Brandenburg Concertos : Nos. 1–4, BWV 1046–1049 Diego Fasolis, cond; Duilio Galfetti (vn); Thomas Müller (hn); Raul Diaz (hn); Maurice Steger (rcr); Stefano Bet (rcr); Emiliano Roldolfi (ob); Gabriele Cassone (tpt); Francesco Cera (hpd); I Barocchisti (period instruments) ARTS 47715 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 51:51)


BACH Brandenburg Concertos : Nos. Read more 5–6, BWV 1050–1051. Triple Concerto in a, BWV 1044 Diego Fasolis, cond; Stefano Bet (fl); Giovanni De Rosa (va); Francesco Cera (hpd); I Barocchisti (period instruments) ARTS 47716 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 54:28)


The Brandenburg s are of such a stripe as to never become recording proof; despite the hordes of releases that already adorn the glutted market, someone somewhere will always be interested in adding to the plethora. If we follow Glenn Gould’s dictum that the only reason to ever record something again is to do it differently, we shall have to dismiss about half of the recordings available. While I cannot claim that Diego Fasolis and company fully meet the Gouldian standard, they are interesting enough to warrant serious consideration, and not only because of Art’s spacious and vibrant Super Audio sound; they also meet and exceed most of the accomplishments of any period-instrument recording I have heard.


The concertos are of course fairly unique in music history. When Bach was under the employment of the Prince of Anhalt-Cothen in the years 1717–1723, the unfortunate tragedy of the death of his wife Maria Barbara occasioned a remarriage in 1721 to the now-famous Anna Magdalena, happening as chance would have it, at about the same time as the Prince himself took a wife. This new royal personage was far less interested in music than the Prince, and this may be the reason that the composer’s short sojourn in Cothen ended soon after, with the Brandenburg Concertos the crowning achievement of his stay. Little church music was required of Bach during his stay, as it took second place to the instrumental requirements of the many soirees in the realm, a sort of chamber music heaven for the right composer.


On a trip to Berlin in 1718 to choose a new harpsichord for the court, he most likely met the young Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg, the youngest of the Prince’s sons. It was to him that the concertos were dedicated, though it is fairly certain that none of this music was newly composed, but based instead on existing works that exploited the capabilities and instrumentation of the Cothen orchestra. The Italian influence is fully ripened in these works, as Bach loved the works of Vivaldi, and was intimately familiar with the constructs of the concerto grosso form.


Yet there have been very few instances, if any, in the history of the art where such diversity and variation have been packed into so few works. Most of Bach’s concertos appear in the earlier years of his life, and it is hard to imagine a finer summation of the Italian form than those found here. Bach seemed intent on exploring the very limits of the form in his use of so many divergent and seemingly incompatible instruments in a small ensemble. Just considering the use of trumpet, recorder, violin, and oboe in No. 2 leads one to astonishment, and the composer was not sparing of the technical capabilities of anyone; tempos, meters, and opposing combinations combine to make these works completely worthy of the adulation time and people everywhere have bestowed on them.


I have to admit that my own favorites in these works do not reside in the parlance of the period specialists. What I perceive as lacking is the last degree of musicality and love that so engaged me when I first heard them. And that special recording remains today my favorite—and I realize that we all retain particular attachment to those recordings that initially led us to love a piece of music—but even after all of these years, the Nonesuch recording of the concertos by Karl Ristenpart and featuring such luminaries as Jean-Pierre Rampal, Robert Veyron-Lacroix, and Pierre Pierlot, still commands my loyalty. I have been seduced by the magic of Richter, Marriner (in the Thurston Dart reconstructions), and I Musici also, and there are many others worth mentioning. But period practice, at least for a time, seemed to neuter the emotional element and concentrate more on the mechanical. Hence, when the Musica Antiqua Köln recording appeared 20-odd years ago with the Third Concerto’s last movement taken at a blazing 3:51, I was somewhat taken aback. Where is the music in this? At that tempo, one cannot even hear the many intricacies of Bach’s delicious counterpoint, and it appears an exercise in musical gymnastics, no more. But even so, I found other things in the Reinhard Goebel conception to admire, especially in his phrasing of the slow movements.


When the recording by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment appeared, steered by Monica Huggett, there seemed to be a re-emergence of sanity. Her tempos were much more sober and moderate, and the playing absolutely gorgeous. This reading, available on a Virgin two-for-one at 10 bucks, belongs in everyone’s library, and still sets the period standard for me. But I cannot dismiss this new Fasolis recording easily, for the explosive sound of the winds and exceptional ensemble demand more than cursory appreciation. This is a spunky reading that is played with palpable enthusiasm and considered care for articulation and good musical sense. All the soloists are first-rate, though I must admit I am still waiting for a period trumpeter to successfully negotiate the difficult and fiendish No. 2. But as a set, this ranks with the very best, and the sound is the very best.


FANFARE: Steven Ritter
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Brandenburg Concerto no 1 in F major, BWV 1046 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Diego Fasolis (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/2004 
2.
Brandenburg Concerto no 2 in F major, BWV 1047 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Diego Fasolis (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1718; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/2004 
3.
Brandenburg Concerto no 4 in G major, BWV 1049 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Diego Fasolis (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/2004 
4.
Brandenburg Concerto no 3 in G major, BWV 1048 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Diego Fasolis (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1711-1713; ?Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/2004 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In