Documentary

Introduction to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047

By Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Concentus Musicus Wien

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Cast

Concentus Musicus Wien

Nikolaus Harnoncourt — Conductor

Program notes

Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Bach, those two names who fit perfectly together meet again here for the complete Brandenburg Concerto.

"Everyone who knows the Second Brandenburg Concerto thinks: 'Oh great, a Baroque trumpet concerto!' Hence: Baroque trumpet, physical power, high tones, sound – and everything else is secondary. But that's just what it is not: Bach wrote a concerto for four different but equal instruments: trumpet, recorder, oboe, violin. The art was to create a dialogue among these four instruments, and this is obviously only posible when the trumpet plays as softly as the recorder and the recorder as loud as the trumpet."

"The trumpet which we use is a natural trumpet, i.e. there are no technical means such as valves and keys. The player has to do everything on his own. How was it played in Bach's time? I think that there were exceptional talents on specific instruments back then just as today. And we know that there was a phenomenal trumpet player in Bach's day who could play everything an octave higher. Bach must have had such a trumpet player at his disposal, since the level of difficulty of this piece is unusual for its time." (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.

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