Thursday, August 19, 2010

j.s. bach | brandenburg concertos

well, we've been gathering cobwebs here in the dept of fancy people music writing, but i tell you it's time once again to buckle into our high-heeled loafers, fuss with our ruffly neck accoutrement, puff out our chests like dandified apes, and eschew any such pretense that essays to mitigate the pretense of fanciness.

and so, it is with great pleasure that i invite you to join me in appreciation of herr bach's brandenburg concertos. two recordings of them, in fact. why not. the first i came to was the pinnock / english concert recording from archiv, which immediately satisfied my desire for a brandenburg that was just totally infatuated with the music's ample provisions for lushness and virtuosity. if you want BIG FUCKING bach, yes, it's here, and it's big fucking wonderful. in the second, by martin pearlman & boston baroque, i found the spirit of the music — once unencumbered by such concerns — could be pretty freewheeling. i don't think i have a preference; just depends on the circumstances, i suppose. they're both period performances, incidentally, although for whatever reason the pearlman sounds a bit more periody to my ears... more idiosyncratic anyway (and probably more fun, too, for that matter... but, then again, what cares we for fun)

the music itself doesn't really need much introduction. pretty much anyone who's ever turned on the radio in the U.S. has at least heard part of the 6th concerto (lead-in music for american public media programs (thanks wikipedia, for reminding me where i was hearing that)). so, they're all like that — fruity and grandiloquent in the most delightful ways: fancy dances for to strut your high stockings, yes, and some of the most dazzling organizations of sound yet given forth from the human race.


  1. "As I had the good fortune a few years ago to be heard by Your Royal Highness, at Your Highness's commands, and as I noticed then that Your Highness took some pleasure in the little talents which Heaven has given me for Music, and as in taking Leave of Your Royal Highness, Your Highness deigned to honour me with the command to send Your Highness some pieces of my Composition: I have in accordance with Your Highness's most gracious orders taken the liberty of rendering my most humble duty to Your Royal Highness with the present Concertos, which I have adapted to several instruments; begging Your Highness most humbly not to judge their imperfection with the rigor of that discriminating and sensitive taste, which everyone knows Him to have for musical works, but rather to take into benign Consideration the profound respect and the most humble obedience which I thus attempt to show Him."

    and the fucker never even wrote back.