Saturday, January 01, 2011

Sunday Classics preview: Going back in time with the Fifth "Brandenburg" Concerto


Kind of weird, but . . . The first half of the irresistible Fifth Brandenburg is played and conducted by Glenn Gould (with some pretty weird tempo haulings-about), with flutist Julius Baker and violinist Oscar Shumsky. (The performance concludes here, beginning with Gould going at the cadenza.)

by Ken

Last night we previewed the fizzy Fourth Brandenburg, as part of Part 2 of our holiday traversal of the complete Bach Brandenburg Concertos.

Surely the most obviously irresistible (as well as structurally impeccable) concerto of the Brandenburg set is No. 5, and I thought we'd work into it by harking back in time to a performance from a complete recording of the Brandenburgs made in 1932 by the great pianist Alfred Cortot. The performance shows its age in the use of the piano for the keyboard solo part and in those unapologetic slowdowns at the end of movements (which don't bother me -- it's such a natural impulse that I would need way more evidence than anyone has presented that Baroque musicians never did it -- but are a ready target for today's Baroque robocops, who think they're way smarter than I think they are). However, I think the spirit of the performance is, well, pretty darned irresistible.

BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D, BWV 1050

i. Allegro (with cadenza)
ii. Affettuoso
iii. Allegro

Roger Cortet, flute; Jacques Thibaud, violin; Orchestra of the École Normale de Musique, Paris, Alfred Cortot, piano and cond. EMI, recorded May 16-18, 1932


We take a listen to some of the audacious feats Bach worked ever so casually into the Brandenburg Concertos, then complete our holiday traversal of the set with Nos. 4-6.

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At 7:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

wonderful music thanks as always

captcha: expressing sadness at the fate of Raymond Massey? (pordin)


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