"Bach made a gift of the manuscript of these concertos to the Margrave of Brandenburg, and in this manuscript this concerto is the last and that is why it is called the Sixth Brandenburg Concerto. But it could also have been the first of these concertos, which Bach had all written in Cöthen. Among musicologists, it is considered as the most traditional, but I am not at all of this opinion. What is sensational in this piece is its use of instruments, since the only solo strings used in the Baroque era were essentially the extroverted violins of Italy or the introverted gambas of France and England. That Bach wrote a concerto for two solo violas, the proletarian among the instruments, the one who never gets to play a solo – that was a social revolution among the instruments." (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