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Bach: Brandenburg Concerti 1-6

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 17, 1993
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Bach: Brandenburg Concerti 1-6
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Product Details

  • Performer: Maurice Andre, Felix Ayo, Frans Bruggen, Severino Gazzelloni, Maria Teresa Garatti, et al.
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (August 17, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000004164
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,856 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hurray! Found the Bach I have always been looking for! I Musici...they are simply a marvel. They create the most delightfully natural sounding pacing that I have yet to hear in Bach recordings. The inter-weaving lines sound separate, and they play off one another with so much ease and virtuosity it seems like all the obstacles are joyfully hurdled. This is the FIRST recording I have heard where I am not offended by the harpsichord! In an understated way it adds body to the piece, a colored texture that sounds indispensable. The horns and the woodwinds are in wonderful pitch, and they accent the rhythm until they point out highlights with controlled bravado. The strings are warm and clean sounding and they play beautifully, unsentimental with a very refined elegant line. Listen to them trill. When the music picks up in pace the clarity and warm sound comes flying through. And the slow movements are exquisite, where the legato line is played with taste and feeling.
The Violin Concertos were recorded in '58, the Brandenburg in '65, and the sound is good.
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I would just like to tell anyone interested in this recording that it is an excellent one. The musicianship is superior, and the sound is fantastic. The listener however, should be aware of the stylistic tendencies of the recording.

If you are looking for the historical kind of recording, this probably is not the ideal choice. The tempos tend to be on the slower side, and mostly modern instruments are used. Nevertheless, if you are not primarily interested in a historically accurate recording, this is wonderful.

All of the pieces have their own distinct character. I personally enjoy Concerto number 4: the recorders give it a light, almost "adorable" kind a feel, as ridiculous as that may sound. Number 5 has a great presentation of the harpsichord. Number 6 is also a rather interesting piece because it involves no violins. Don't underestimate that concerto's poignancy and ability however; the lower strings are more than capable of expression on their own.

I could go on about this recording extensively, but, for the reader's sake as well as mine, I'll end it now. In short, it's a great recording, and I highly recommend it.
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I wanted to get a complete set of the Brandenburg Concertos, and lucky for me, I picked up this bargain-priced two CD set. This recording is great! I Musici plays with an informed baroque style, but not so much so that they get bogged down in the reactionary, scholarly prerogatives of much of the period instrument movement. The horns ring effortlessly, brightly, and clearly, the sound of the flute is enchanting without using excessive vibrato, and the strings are completely unified creating the full effect of Bach's masterpiece. The violin concertos are taken at a slow tempo, and I Musici, it can be argued, is guilty of overdoing the sentimentality. But the performances of the violin concertos, none-the-less, are solid. This recording is a steal.
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As for the music, Bach's Brandenburg concertos are completely delightful. What's special is that these concertos are accessible to anyone, even those with no special knowledge of or experience with classical music. This disc also includes 2 Bach violin concertos which are well-chosen and just as delightful and accessible as the Brandenburg concertos. A great introduction to classical music for anyone of any age.

These concertos have a lot of variety: the uptempo movements are involving and joyous, never harsh or dissonant. The slower tempo movements are tender and loving, sometimes sweet and sad, and sometimes thoughtful. The overall effect is energizing and relaxing at the same time. This is excellent work-out music.

As for performance, these are, imo, the best available on disc. I Musici is a very talented ensemble; the rhythms are natural and unforced, the melodies are joyous, and each instrument can be clearly heard. The rhythms are lively, as befits the music, but not rushed. The recording is very nice; we can hear all the instruments in perfect balance.
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Format: Audio CD
Although the instrumental performances on this CD are most competent, the recording is very marginal. It obviously has been recorded using old technology and suffers from artificial electronic compression. The result is a very limited dynamic range and an almost tinny, recorded-at-a-distance sound. It lacks acoustic depth and "presence." Upon listening to this CD, one can easily discern that it is a recording rather than something heard at a live performance. This 2-CD package certainly gives you a "bargain" in terms of quantity of selections, but do not expect high-quality sound.
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Format: Audio CD
While living in Costa Rica, my only convenient place to buy classical CDs was a bookstore that was heavy into the Philips Duo package. As a result, I now own many recordings in this series. Nobody beats Philips Duo for producing affordable recordings of venerable performances at the highest artistic and technical standards.

I musici playing all of Bach's Brandenburg and Violin concerti is no exception. The oldest performances on this double-CD set are a half-century old. Yet they sound as crisp and clear as you'd hear them this evening in the concert hall. That's simply awesome.

Bach is played here with a kind of competent serenity. This is untroubled, deeply satisfying music performed by a consort that made itself a household name among Baroque music lovers for readings that are both superb and conventional in the best sense of both words.

You might want to own a second recording of these pieces, deeply engrained in the standard repertoire as they are. But you'll not find a better first recording than this set.
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