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Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6
Johann Sebastian Bach Brandenburg Concertos 1-6
Director: Andreas Morell
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     1hr 40min


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Movie Details

Director: Andreas Morell
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Euroarts
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Delightful Concert of all the Brandenburg Concertos
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 11/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Claudio Abbado, surely one of the great conductors working today, formed a small orchestra, called Orchestra Mozart, in 2004. This group consists of several world-renowned instrumentalists and a number of exceedingly fine young players, mostly from Italy. Among the 'names' in the orchestra are Michala Petri, recorder; Giuliano Carmignola, principal violin; Reinhold Friedrich, trumpet; Jacques Zoon, flute; Alois Posch, bass; Alessio Allegrini, horn; and Ottavio Dantone, harpsichord. In their early seasons they concentrated on music by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert. But in 2007 they prepared all six of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and toured them throughout Italy, with concerts in Bologna, Ferrara, Pisa, Prato, Reggio Emilia, Venice, Modena, Verona and Bolzano. This DVD is a live recording of the April 21, 2007 concert they played in the visually gorgeous and acoustically excellent Teatro Municipale Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia.

The players (except for cellos and harpsichord) stand for the performances. Consequently there is considerable swaying of bodies and generally greater animation of the instrumentalists. I mention this because in a visual medium like a DVD this makes for more engaging viewing. The video of this concert focuses almost entirely on the instrumentalists; we rarely see Abbado. I like this approach as I'm much more interested in what the players are doing. One does notice, though, that Abbado is conducting without score. And indeed he's not even conducting at all in the Sixth Concerto -- that's the one without violins; its group of seven players are truly a chamber ensemble.

The principals couldn't be better. I was immensely impressed, as I have been in other recordings, by Allegrini, who has to one of the finest horn players around. As well, I loved the blending of Petri's and Nikolaj Tarasov's recorders in the Second. That concerto was played last on the program -- the sequence was Concertos 1, 3, 5, 6, 4, 2 -- and in response to the enthusiastic applause of the audience, the group played the final Allegro assai of the No. 2 and this time Petri substituted a sopranino recorder for her usual instrument, a piquant touch. Carmignola's lickety-split violin obbligato in the opening Allegro of that concerto has to be seen and heard to be believed.

Dantone was superb in the supremely virtuosic harpsichord part in the Fifth Concerto. The audio didn't bring out the sound of his instrument as much as I would have liked, but I rather suspect it was true to the actual sound in the hall. And I did lean forward to hear it better, which one often actually does in live performances in my experience.

Abbado's approach with the concertos is to take them fairly briskly. He does fairly often slow down slightly for cadences but there is not much else in the way of tempo variation. Usually, frankly, I felt he set the opening tempo and then these excellent musicians played as chamber musicians would, making subtle adjustments to the playing of their colleagues. This is not a criticism of Abbado; rather it is a commendation of his lack of ego and his willingness to let his musicians play together in their own way.

I cannot recommend this DVD highly enough. Often, when I've listened to or attended concerts featuring all six of these works I've lost attention somewhere along the way. This time I was energized for the entire 100 minutes of the concert. (Indeed, as I write this I'm listening again to the delightful No. 2.)

Time: 100mins; Format: NTSC 16:9; Sound PCM Stereo, Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1; Region: 0 (worldwide). The disc is also available in Blu-Ray format Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 [Blu-ray]

Scott Morrison"
A concert to delight the ears!!!
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 03/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)


"The Brandenburg concertos are the purest products of Bach's polyphonic style. Neither on the organ nor on the clavier could he have worked out the architecture of a movement with such vitality; the orchestra alone permits him absolute freedom in the leading and grouping of the obbligato voices."

The above quotation (by Albert Schweitzer) is found on the inner case containing this DVD that has not only the music of Johann Sebastian Bach's (1685 to 1750) six Brandenburg concertos or concerti but also shows the musicians creating this music.

These concertos are considered by many the most beautiful and best known from the Baroque period (1600 to 1750). Baroque composers produced two types of concerto: the solo concerto and the concerto grosso. The concerto grosso was based on the opposition between a small group of instruments (the concertino), and a larger group (the tutti or ripieno).

Bach captured the spirit of the concerto grosso, in which two groups vie with each other in what might be described as "sonorous flights of fancy," in his six Brandenburg Concertos. This set was written for presentation in 1721 to the Margrave (military governor) Christian of Brandenburg, Germany.

Here are the particulars for what's presented:

ENSEMBLE: Orchestra Mozart (created in Nov. 2004 and consists of eminent chamber musicians and young instrumentalists)
CONDUCTOR: Claudio Abbado (who achieves the rare feat of ensuring that the performance has a common thread to it while at the same time allowing each top musician a chance to display his or her abilities to the fullest)
FEATURED PERFORMER: Giuliano Carmignola (who many say is the leading Baroque violinist of the present day)
RECORDED: Live at Teatro (theatre) Municipale Romolo Valli, Reggio Emilia (in Northern Italy)

These concertos are not presented in order but instead as follows:

(#1, #3 ,#5, #6, #4, and #2)

Concerto #3 is the shortest at about (10 minutes, 30 seconds) while concerto #5 is the longest at about (19 minutes). All concertos consist of three movements except #1 which consists of four.

Finally, the DVD (released Oct. 2008) is perfect in picture and sound quality. Technical specifications:

Picture format: NTSC, 16.9 anamorphic
Sound formats: LPCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Region code: 0

In conclusion, this is truly an unforgettable presentation of the Brandenburg concertos. Encore! Encore!!

(2007; 1 hr, 40 min; wide screen; 22 scenes)

..don't even ask--just buy it
J. Williams | 06/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Never written a review for any product, when I could open a DVD distribution center myself from my collection--it would take quite an earthquake for me to do so--this DVD did it. Players standing--Claudio keeping metronome--about as flawless a performance as you will get. Back to back--the concerti are, again, a revelation--no matter how familiar you may be. Of all on stage, Bach is the MVP--clearly evident in every participant's offering--obviously enjoying themselves--all hip, together--with a reverence for the material. Again--this one--don't ask--click 1 step buy--you'll never regret it.
Hey! Who ordered the six brandenburgers? Well, pick up , Mis
J. Faulk | New York NY USA | 10/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I must confess, I ordered this DVD to check out the filming techniques of video director Andreas Morell, who received some badmouthing for his cropped takes and "rapid-fire" editing of the Caravaggio ballet. And just last week I told a friendly music customer that I really didn't care very much for the Brandenburgs.

So it was with some apprehension that I began playback of this Orchestra Mozart disc. In the second minute, I cringed and said to my Split Personality (S.P), "Oh dear, the six cameras must be strapped to the heads of hummingbirds darting about." S.P. chimed in, "And just listen to hairy Bach's rapid-fire counterpoint! It's screwing my internal oscillator. Gimme a cig." We made it through the 100 minutes and I thought, "It's unlikely I'll ever watch this again."

But as I slept the Blue Fairy glowed into my 1 1/2, touched each of my ears with her magic baton and said but softly, "Fantasia." The next day I pressed the Start button again and watched and listened. All was a joy! Twenty-nine down to earth musicians in familial synchronicity, coaxed so kindly by Grandpa Abbado, raining Bach's blessings on the summer meadows, woods, and villages of baroque Germany, France, and Italy. On all the nice people in the neo-classic Teatro Municipale di Reggio. On me, the repentant.

At the concert conclusion, the upper tiers shower the stage with yellow and white flowers, and roses with ribbon streamers. The musicians retrieve some of them, tucking one into the jacket pocket, the hair, even the trumpet mouthpiece. May I have some for Andreas Morell and his film crew? In my second viewing, not a shot, not a splice jagged me. Those guys caught the intense concentration of the music dedicatees, their un-self-conscious facial expressions and body language, their glances and smiles at each other. Here's a second hand rose, Andreas, for your mom's scrapbook."