Martin Pearlman & Boston Baroque on Telarc! Best I've ever heard, both in sonic quality and interpetation & performance.
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If you are auditioning only the tweeters of the speakers, then by all means choose from the above. If you want to hear some mids and bass as well (ie. the whole speaker), then try Benjamin Britten's recordings with the ECO on Decca. Karl Richter on DGG (an older recording) is also worthy of a listen.
(Boys, I think the frenzy for original instruments has mercifully past.)
Rufus, I think you're exagerating a little, but I do see your point. Britten's recordings with Decca are nice, full-bodied and definitely a different sound than the leaner sound we've almost become acustomed to with the period instruments performances that have been dominating the new releases. Alpass, the Pearlman I'm referring to is the Telarc version, the only one of which I'm aware.
Just curious I was given a bunch of old classical lp's mostly unplayed and in the collection is a Brandenburg Concerto boxed set on the Telefunken label. It's all in German so I can't understand much but I think the condctor is Nikolous Harnoncourt and it seems as if original instruments are used. I know zero about classical is this set any good either musically or sonically? I'm currently between turntables and so can't give it a listen. I don't mean to hijack the thread, I thought my question dovetailed nicely with the original.
Great question. I didn't see my favorite among the answers and it's a super pick. Karl Ristenpart with the Orchestre de Chambre de la Sarre. It comes in a 6 CD box set that ALSO includes:The art of the Fugue, Suites for Orchestra, Triple Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord, and Concerto for Multiple Harpsichords.
The performances are just wonderful. They were recorded in 1960 and 1965 and remastered in 2000. The sound is absolutely lovely with the players performing in an older more Central European style than the Pinnock, Marriner and Hogwood versions which I also own and enjoy. I picked it up New recently on the Internet for about $45 with shipping. You won't go wrong and, you'll pick up some spirited performances of other Bach compositions that will get your feet tapping like a metronome on fire.
Highly recommended set.......... ISBN: 028946589328
One factor that might make a difference is whether you prefer a closely miked recording or one with more space. The Martin Pearlman recordings evoke a large hall, while the Trevor Pinnock recordings sound closer and more intimate.
I like the performances and the close miking on the Pinnock recordings, but the sound is good, not great. It was recorded in the early days of digital. It would be great if they would rerecord it with 24 bit technology.
Has anyone heard the Apollo's Fire version?
Anyone currently looking for nicely recorded, superb performances of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos can choose from among these two: Ton Koopman with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra on the Apex label-or-Raymond Leppard with the English Chamber Orchestra on the Universal Classics label. As with nearly all recorded Brandenburgs, each is spread over two discs. Some vendors on Amazon offer them new at excellent prices.
Get thee a Musica Florea CD set (Marek Stryncl). It is available on Amazon as an import only, about $40. BRAVO horns!
Second best recommendation: Academy of Ancient Music, Richard Egarr (Harmonia Mundi) SACD set reviewed in Stereophile several months ago. Also really, really good; some tempos are not quite as agressive. Sound is spectacular. Bravo horns!
I'll probably appear to many to be off-base here. But quality of the recording is paramount to me. Acoustic instruments loose so much through recording. The Brandenburg concertos is my favourite baroque piece and I've spent much time trying to find the perfect version. I didn't fint it. But I did find a version that was just as good as the any others in its execution and deisgn, while being superior in the quality of its recording AND the quality of the instruments used. This version is the MAK (Musica Antika Kölln) version with Reinhardt Goebel. After listening so many times to such version as the harnoncourt or the Pinnock (or actually any other versions that I know of)it first struck me as being much too fast at times. But I was intrigued and gave it its chance. After a few other attempts I was hooked, and it is now my de facto brandenburg of choice. The pace works just fine, at times being beneficial to certain scenes. I strongly advice anyone to try and go over this first disconfort.