When I visited Boston last month, a highlight was the opportunity to hear all six Bach Brandenburg Concertos in a single evening. In fact, I planned my entire trip around this performance.
And, what a performance it was! The Chameleon Arts Ensemble is comprised of some of Boston’s finest musicians. The review by Leon Golub in The Boston Musical Intelligencer details their incredible performances.
Well-loved to this day, the Brandenburgs represent output from one of the least stressful and most productive periods of Bach’s life -- when he was the music director in the little town of Coethen. Bach wrote these as a set, but we rarely have the opportunity to hear the complete set in a live performance.
Over the years, I have enjoyed hearing or participating in many a live performance of a single Brandenburg Concerto, normally as part of a larger program of diverse works. Hearing all six on a single program allowed me to listen differently. I was able to make comparisons and enjoy the seemingly endless instrumental pairings, moods, colors and styles Bach offered up. I felt like an insider, almost as if I was right at Bach’s side, relishing each and every brilliant experiment he tried.
Like the reviewer, Mr. Golub, if the subsequent repeat performance had not been sold out, I would have happily been there for a second round!