Bach: Brandenburg Concertos

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Benjamin Britten
Catalogue No.

Britten’s stately and clear-sighted readings of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos begin a program that continues with a group of rarities. Much requested and finally available on CD, is the complete 1953 Opening Concert of the Aldeburgh Festival in which Britten and Imogen Holst shared the conducting honours. In addition to the anthems (in which the soloists include Alfred Deller), there is ‘Sellinger’s Round’, based on a theme by William Byrd with a series of variations by a range of British composers, including Tippett, Walton, Searle and Britten himself. The disc is completed with four ‘encores’ that formed an EP issued by Decca. From Adrian Boult’s Handel sessions with Kenneth McKellar come the Air from Suite No. 3 and ‘Sheep may safely graze’. The second side of the EP was taken up by Britten’s hushed arrangement of the English National Anthem and a blazing performance of Clarke’s ‘Trumpet Voluntary’, complete with the Trumpeters of Kneller Hall.


JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 in F, BWV 1046
VARIOUS: Sellinger’s Round (Variations on an Elizabethan Theme)*
Rule Britannia (Arthur)**
Now the air shall ring (The Fairy Prince)**
HENRY PURCELL: O Lord, Grant the Queen a Long Life**
Air (Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068+
Sheep may safely graze (Cantata BWV208)+
ANON. arr. Britten: God Save the Queen#
JEREMIAH CLARKE: Trumpet Voluntary++

English Chamber Orchestra
Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra*
London Symphony Chorus#
London Symphony Orchestra#
Benjamin Britten
Peter Pears, tenor*
Aldeburgh Festival Chorus**
Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra**
Imogen Holst**
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden+
Adrian Boult+
Trumpeters of Kneller Hall Royal Military School of Music++
London Symphony Orchestra++
Kenneth Alwyn++


‘…an essential purchase for Britten enthusiasts, but can also be recommended to others with an interest in him as composer or performer, and to those who simply want a satisfying alternative to other recordings they may have of the Brandenburgs’ MusicWeb

‘…Britten may have been seen as an unlikely candidate to tackle these ancient scores, he managed to elicit forward-looking performances that are at once lively and elegant’ Fanfare