In 1721, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) made a rather grand job application to Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg. He presented the scores of a collection of six pieces which he had already composed while working at Köthen and earlier in Weimar. Sadly for the Margrave, he never heard the concertos because his orchestra was too small although they were scored for just 17 instruments. The autograph manuscript was left in the Margrave’s library, only rediscovered in 1849 and given the name Brandenburg Concertos. They are regarded as among the great glories of the orchestral form; certainly widely considered as the best and most innovative compositions of the Baroque era. Now, in an apt celebration of the opening of its 30th anniversary concert season, the Brandenburg will play the Brandenburgs.
When forming the orchestra in 1989, Paul Dyer and managing director, Bruce Applebaum, named it in honour of J.S. Bach and ‘these supreme jewels of Baroque music’. Paul Dyer goes on to say: ‘To call Bach a genius is an understatement. His music is virtuosic and fiercely technical, but also speaks directly to the soul of the musician and the listener like no other composer’.
Five of the six concertos will be presented in Sydney at the City Recital Hall (27 Feb – 8 March), at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre (4 March) and at Melbourne Recital Centre (March 9,10). This will be a worthy celebration of a remarkable orchestra and its wonderful namesake.
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