Concerto Köln – the sum of more than a quarter-century of period performance practice at the highest level. Repeatedly honoured with the ECHO Klassik and other awards (German Record Critics’ Prize, MIDEM Classic Award), the ensemble is loved and respected for its vivacious music-making and is a frequent guest in concert halls of renown and at great festivals around the world.
This recording shows the ensemble presenting Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in new splendour. Concerto Köln were resolved to add Bach’s orchestral works to their repertoire only when they could contribute something new to the interpretation of the great Baroque composer’s oeuvre. Familiar terrain was surveyed anew, then, and questions of sound and instrumentation were subjected to research. How should the continuo group in the various concertos be constituted, what trumpets are played in the second Brandenburg? What about the “Fiauti d’Echo” that Bach specifies in the Fourth Concerto, what gambas did he have in mind for the Sixth?
For this recording, Concerto Köln chose the deep Kammerton a' = 392 Hz, "in which the high trumpet passages allow a softer blend of sound in the soloist quartet", explains Lorenzo Alpert, bassoonist of the ensemble. Concerto Köln has also taken a new approach to the flutes in the 4th Brandenburg Concerto. In search of the "Fiauti d’Echo" required by Bach, they commissioned the development of a double flute, as shown in early drawings, to generate the desired echo effect. That makes Concerto Köln the first orchestra to use such echo flutes in the Fourth Concerto. The use of the harpsichord and the violone, facsimiles of original instruments of Bach’s day with characteristics of which Bach could take full advantage, is a further innovation.
Concerto Köln has taken the opportunity in this new recording to present an exceptional interpretation full of intensity and warmth, yet as fresh and light as ever, and technically of the highest precision. This is period performance practice at the highest level.