I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

BWV 1044

Among Bach's gems is the so-called Triple Concerto, one that mimics the scoring of his equally famous Brandeburg Concerto #5, but this concerto lives on its own, some anomaly, perhaps; some lonely child in a minor key. BWV 1044 is scored for harpsichord solo, flute, and violin against an orchestral accompaniment. It very often gets packaged in recordings with the Brandenburg set, as it's an "authentic" Bach concerto that has familiar scoring... and like the Brandenburgs, it's also known in other formats or arrangements. But I thought I'd listen to several versions I now have on file. Le Concert Français Hantaï and friends perform the work well, with clear sound and a medium tempo. What's missing is anything too extreme. No super-fast tempi, no odd quirks or accents; his ensemble has a rich, rounded sound, with the harpsichord especially so forward and rich in texture. At times, the middle movement most obvious, the rhythm might just relax a bit in its perfection, and the first movement, and especially the second, could use a short burst of speed. la Stravaganza Hamburg Good tempos! Horrible sound recording. It is a shame these talented musicians, under Sigbert Rampe couldn't have been treated to better acoustic and a better sound recording. Their speed is too fast for their acoustic, and the microphones are too far away. The sound isn't focused. But boy, your foot will be tapping and you'll just wish it was more "Claritin clear." Musica Antiqua Köln I often return here as the baseline recording. It's solid, well-recorded, and the tempos are just about right in each instance. The flow of melodic lines in the last movement, for instance, sound far more humanistic than the "stable machine" Hantaï and Co. exhibit in their recording. Each soloist is clear, from Staier on harpsichord, Hazelzet on flute (not the strongest flute sound among the lot, but certainly adequate), and Goebel on violin. A favorite. AAM with Egarr/Manze The Academy of Ancient Music tackle this on their HM release with other harpsichord concertos. With the AAM, the concerto is more treated like a harpsichord concerto with obbligato flute and violin; in any sense, they are not all three equal players. While the ensemble achieves a nice warm bass sound, clarity of the principal parts is lacking, the orchestral sound a bit muffled (as with the whole set), and the tempos lacking just so to the point that they are awkward. Final Thoughts The triple concerto, BWV 1044, is a really good work. I just feel it has a lot of passion behind it that some folks miss. While each version/recording mentioned here has some weakness, they together offer us different viewpoints and readings. None would be a waste of your time. I look forward to future ideas on this work by the daring performers of the 21st century.

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