During the years when Bach was in the service of the courts of Prince Leopold in Cothen, he had his own orchestra and was contracted to compose a great deal of instrumental music. This gave him an opportunity to try new te... more »chniques and to develop his own instrumental style. The six Brandenburg Concertos belong to these masterpieces, which he composed for a small ensemble. The joyously infectious performance of these masterpieces by The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra demonstrates both the pleasure and highest professional standard that can be reached.« less
"One of my sub-hobbies is collecting recordings of the Brandenburg concerti. I was glad when we were able to start seeing the players, on LDs and DVDs, and I did like this recording a lot. It has good video and pretty good sound.As an old (ex-)trumpet player, I always pay special attention to the second concerto. Several things caught my eye (ear?). The trumpet player is Friedemann Immer. I don't know much about him, but he did a good job. I have one other recording including him, a Musical Heritage B-minor mass. Amazon gives six CD search hits on him: another Brandenburg, two other CDs, and three "limited availability". Their DVD search give none. (Searching on "Actor"; it's set up for movies.) He is playing an unusual trumpet. It is probably in F, and has three or four "shortening holes"(also called note holes, under the right middle fingers and thumb; he never uses the middle finger, so I'm not sure about that one.). These occasionally show up on natural trumpets to bring certain notes closer to in-tune. I've never seen four. In a fair amount of hunting through resources I have not been able to find one even approximately like it. There is a well known engraving of Gottfried Reiche, Bach's Leipzig trumpeter, holding a coiled trumpet reported to be likely the one used in the second concerto. No note holes are evident. Any natural trumpet playing in the clarino register (the octave with a nearly complete diatonic scale) is physically demanding. F is a high trumpet to begin with, and the second Brandenburg goes one note over, to high G. Immer, no spring chicken, negotiates the concerto with no sign of strain or effort -- quite an accomplishment. Only a small minority of trumpeters can even play the piece. He (or maybe head fiddler von der Goltz) has chosen not to trill the Fs in the opening or closing figures, even though the echoing oboe does so. This is unique in my experience. (When trilling, Immer uses a jaw trill, instead of the more common tongue or even shake trill.)The violinist nearest the camera, Daniela Helm I think, uses an idiosyncratic bow grip, shortening up. Her part is the "piccolo violino", one tuned a fourth higher than normal, used here, and that may be standard in that case. I don't know. You see seven and maybe even six-string viols in this group, also.This DVD would have been a fertile field for extra materials, dwelling on the unusual instruments, the performance decisions made, names and biographies of the members (soloists names only are given on the case and disc credits), etc., but there are none.The tempi are very good, and so was the camera work. I was annoyed by the excessive motions of many of the musicians, both seated and standing. It was like sea creatures on coral. Are they trying to be the Rolling Stones of classical? The musicians are generally physically attractive (Is that a Freiburg Baroque Orchestra criterion?), but the makeup seemed a bit too much on some. The venue was attractive and appropriate."
Bravo!! Toll Barockorchester Herr von der Goltz...
Doctorblaster | Quakertown, PA USA | 09/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like J.S. Bach, you are going to love this DVD!! The Dolby 5.1 Surround on this is simply brilliant. As a baroque fan, this is as good as it gets. I only get to about four performances a year, but this DVD will fill in those holes!! The six Brandenburg Concertos are performed exactly in the forum for which they were written. The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Gottfried von der Goltz is an small ensemble performing these concertos 'on location' on an intimate scale. The camera shows the muscians peforming the music that they obviously enjoy. Violins, violas, the double bass, cellos, recorders, the harpiscord, and more make these very special performances of these timeless favorites. A superior recreation in sound of a ballroom with these nice renditions of the Bach's concertos. I think he would be proud!!"
Doctorblaster | 12/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very nicely played set. The camera work and the
sound are impeccable. The set is performed in the "mirror room" at Cothen, chandeliers and all. It is very fancy, and atmostpheric. It appears to have been a 2-part German TV series, transcribed to DVD. This perhaps explains why there are no "extras" (no interviews with the music director or musicians, no brief tour around the Cothen site or discussion of how a historic performance might have been). This is not an attempt to visually recreate a period performance. It is a lively performance by an excellent group of modern musicians expertly playing their period instuments. I give it 4 stars only for the lack of extra goodies."
Glad I bought this
Doctorblaster | 02/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very well done and enyoyable DVD. I own quite a few classical music DVDs and this is definitely my favorite. Excellent musicians, beautiful settings, great sound and camera work."
Sensei | USA | 09/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Amazing performance and the sound and video quality is very good. Good camera work too. It's interesting that there's no conductor as they're going by the 18th century style, so they are a little more animated than most classical performances (only because they need to keep some sort of time/expression with the missing conductor). If you're looking for a good performance, this is probably the best DVD on Amazon for that."