Bach: Brandenburg Concertos

Capella Savaria, Zsolt Kalló
88:01
Hungaroton HCD32706-07

Much as I enjoyed the version of the Brandeburgs I reviewed last month, I must confess that this new set from Capella Savaria has outshone it.
Just out of interest, I started with the third concerto and, just as I had expected from this group, the “slow movement” grows organically out of the final cadence of the preceding one, courtesy of an improvisation from leader, Zsolt Kalló. No harpsichord imposters here!

Elsewhere things are much as one would expect, which is not to say that there are not occasional moments that caused a raised eyebrow or two; the raucous horns in the Menuetto of Concerto 1, the slower (and gradually settled into…) tempo of the following trio and the fluid tempo changes of the ensuing Polonaise all fall into that category. Yet they eyebrows quickly gave way to smiles as one realised just how comfortable they must all be with one another to accommodate such seemingly idiosyncratic ideas without allowing them to disrupt the flow or feel somehow imposed on Bach’s music.

I repeatedly write in these pages that one should always have something fresh to say if one plans to re-record something that is already available in dozens of other versions; Capella Savaria will not shock, but they will make you feel like you are hearing these pieces for the first time, which is no mean feat.

Brian Clark

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