Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050, at the Teatro Municipale Valli in Reggio Emilia, Italy (2007).
Bach’s fifth Brandenburg Concerto is special in two respects: It includes a ‘concertino’ with harpsichord, transverse flute and violin, in which the three solo instruments confront the string orchestra as if in a kind of dialogue. And the slow middle movement is played by the three soloists without any string orchestra at all. This second movement is a restrained lament in which violin, flute and harpsichord enter into a canonic dialogue with each other.
What is also special about the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto is that Bach gave the harpsichord a prominent role. In the first movement, this tradition-steeped keyboard instrument has a three-minute solo passage that is brilliantly handled by Ottavio Dantone ( 05:56 ). Because of this harpsichord solo, the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 is considered perhaps the earliest example of a solo concerto for a keyboard instrument.
Dantone plays a harpsichord from the workshop of William Horn, which is also a feast for the eyes with its many decorations on a bright red base in the middle of the stage. The Latin quotation in the lid of the ornate keyboard instrument ‘Nulla scientia melior musica animae harmonia’ (There is no science better than the music of the soul) could have been written just for this Brandenburg Concerto, which seems to have drawn its rhythm from the pulse of the human soul.
The Brandenburg Concertos (BWV 1046-1051) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) are a collection of six instrumental works that Bach dedicated to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg, in 1721. They are regarded as some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. The concerts were, however, likely composed between 1718 and 1721, for Bach’s Köthener Hofkappelle. Bach’s original title, Six Concerts with Various Instruments, describes exactly what is special about these concerts; the varied use of several instruments - with different strings, wind instruments, or solo harpsichord for the concertini.
The Orchestra Mozart was founded in 2004 to afford talented young musicians the opportunity to play in a world-class orchestra, with world-class conductors. Claudio Abbado (1933-2014) is considered one of the greatest conductors of all time. In 2011, Classic Voice music magazine named Abbado the most important of the top 100 living conductors. He was born into a family of musicians in Milan, Italy, on June 26, 1933. Following his study of conducting, piano, and composition at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, he continued his education at the Vienna Music Academy. In 1968, Abbado became head conductor of the Milan Scala. In the subsequent years, he could be seen on the world’s great concert stages, in Milan, London, and Chicago. Following his 1984 debut at the Vienna State Opera, he became the city’s general music director. In October of 1989, the members of the Berlin Philharmonic elected him artistic director, succeeding Herbert von Karajan. He remained in Berlin until 2002. Abbado died in Bologna on January 20, 2014, aged 80, following a long battle with cancer.
Giuliano Carmignola - Violin
Ottavio Dantone - Harpsichord
Jacques Zoon - Flute
Claudio Abbado - Conductor
00:08 I. Allegro
09:00 II. Affettuoso
14:03 III. Allegro
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