"This concerto is generally considered as a genuine triple concerto for violin and two flutes. In my opinion, it is purely a violin concerto, and the most virtuoso one Bach ever wrote. Musicologists always had their problems with the two flutes. Bach designated them as 'Flauti d'echo', and there have been all kinds of theories as to what instruments he could have meant. No one thought of looking for the explanation in the music itself. Bach always uses the term 'flauto' for the recorder, and 'd'echo' means nothing else than that the two recorders leave their seats in the orchestra in the slow movement, which is built around an echo effect, and play from another point in the room or outside of it, but in any case from a distance. Strong evidence supporting this theory is found at the beginning of the last movement, where the tutti plays without the recorders, so as to give them enough time to get back to their seats. "(Nikolaus Harnoncourt)
Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, named after their dedicatee the Margrave Christian Ludwig von Brandenburg, have been part of Nikolaus Harnoncourt's permanent repertoire ever since he founded his Concentus musicus ensemble. The ensemble has recorded them and played them on their tours throughout the world.
The impulse which led Harnoncourt to establish the Concentus musicus in 1953 was his dissatisfaction with the traditional way of interpreting early music. The uncommon and sometimes radically different style of the Concentus musicus, as well as its exclusive use of historical instruments, secured the ensemble its international reputation. Harnoncourt introduces the concerto with a moving and fascinating analysis of the piece. Interesting musical examples, which Harnoncourt inserts in a humorous and relaxed manner, make this introduction an informative and entertaining guide to this masterpiece of music. The production was filmed in the historical Baroque monastery library in Wiblingen, Germany.
By Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Concentus Musicus Wien