BACH: Six Brandenburg Concertos – Tacet

by | May 10, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BACH: Six Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051 – Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra – 2 Multichannel (4.0) SACD CDs Tacet S101 ****: I have been a Brandenburg junkie for ~50years . From my first Westminster LP set with Karl Haas conducting The London Baroque Ensemble, to my favorite Decca recording with the English Chamber Orchestra led by Benjamin Britten, my Brandeburg recordings have been played en chambre, al fresco, and en passant, in auto or on foot. They are an integral part of my essential whistling repetoire- as in the third concerto where I dare to go where no whistler ought – with that trumpet solo.This Tacet set achieves yet another level of excellence! Utilizing SACD five channel technology, the listener is presented differing instrumental placements for the various concertos. The first Brandenburg with horns, winds, abd strings finds the orchestra in “standard” position with the rear channels adding ambiance. The second concerto places the listener inside the orchestra. The trumpet is R. rear, the oboe L. rear, the flute R. front, the violin L. front, while the remaining orchestra is arrayed around the listener. The effect is quite thrilling. The voices and counterpoint are so clear. It is as if you are inside of Bach’s brain. And what a brain this is! The insight this technique provides into the interlocking melodies and harmonies is one of the most exciting musical experiences that I have encountered.The third concerto finds the violas front, the cellos and violins R and L respectively. Again, the most remarkable clarity is provided; indeed,clarity is the essence of these recordings .In particular the second third and fourth concertos are most effective. I know my Brandenburgs and am astonished by the information available only from these discs.The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra recorded a fine set of Brandenburgs for Decca/London in the 1960s under the direction of Karl Munchinger. It was highly esteemed and remains available at record boutiques.This 2000 Stuttgart recording, without designated conductor, is more idiomatic, more gracefully performed, more spirited and more virtuosic with respect to the soloists’ contributions. Combine these gorgeous performances with the opportunity of literally being inside the six Brandenburgs in surround sound and you have a most remarkable listening experience. Excitingly recommended! [We reviewed the DVD-Audio version of this not long ago in these same pages. Sonics are similar; the main difference is that in that case all the concertos fit on a single DVD…Ed.]
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