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.

Brandenburg Concerti DVD

Several years ago I picked up a DVD of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra performing Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, and if you search on YouTube, you'll find some industrious person has ripped this DVD and posted the performances for all to see. The ethics on that aside... The performances are on original instruments and are, for the most part, very polished. Not terribly much creativity went into the video portion of the production, however. But I'll get to that. The performances are for the most part quick-tempoed, but without a lot of flexibility in tempo. The playing is clean, but the recording leaves a lot of detail out (for instance, you look at some players and you could swear you don't hear a peep out of them!). The recording might have been better with closer miking. While the performances are good, they leave a little out in terms of spontaneity. The most interesting person to watch is von der Goltz, the leader, who takes the lead in Concertos 4 and 5. The video is shot inside a large ballroom, and while the camera work does a lot to show us both close-ups and wide-angle shots, the performers look quite uninterested. And that leads to a flat video. The horn players look bored. Karl Kaiser (flute) hardly ever looks at von der Goltz. While the video was likely shot in the last days of 1999, in a more contemporary setting, I would have liked to have seen them wear more casual clothes, and perhaps even be interviewed about the works. When videos of classical music are made, we shouldn't ignore the rich medium of video... either capture a live performance with an audience, or else help us learn about the music with a story: either the music's history, or the challenges of performing the music. In the end, there are better recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concerti available. I didn't have one by the FBO, so I justified buying the DVD. There aren't terribly many available on period instruments, so... you may want to check out the YouTube versions to see if there's value in it for you. I've greatly admired the playing of the FBO and FBO consort in the past, and here they don't necessarily disappoint. But with the media of video and such familiar works, I expected a little more daring or visual interest. Not every DVD needs to go to the lengths of the overly dramatic presentations by Il Giardino Armonico in their excellent DVDs, but as said, something here more could have been said musically, if not visually.

Vivaldi Concertos RV 331, 190, 325, 217, 303

Keith Jarrett: Art of Improvisation