A Bach Brandenburg Concerto Showdown

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In honor of Bach’s 327th birthday today, we’re celebrating with a Brandenburg Showdown. We asked you to tell us which of the six Brandenburg Concertos you like the best, you picked the Concerto No. 5 and we played it at 12 noon.

Here's the full breakdown

Concerto No. 5: 27%

Concerto No. 6: 20%

Concerto No. 3: 18%

Concerto no. 2: 15%

Concerto No. 4: 12%

Concerto No. 1: 8%

This is a redux of last year’s Brandenburg Showdown, in which No. 4 was victorious.

Take a listen to each concerto through the links below:

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046
Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051

Comments [22]

Peter J Blume from Westchester, NY

As a trumpeter I know I SHOULD vote with bias for #2. And #4 is also way up there for me--let's face it though, they're ALL great! But I actually would choose #5 as my favorite--& not necessarily for the cadenza in the 1st movement; I just really like Bach's melodic ideas in the 3rd movement & how He playfully uses polyphonic interplay to delicately weave them together...simply brilliant.
Here's a cheers to the next 327 years of J.S.Bach's music!


Mar. 21 2012 11:21 PM
Evelyne Liebmann from Rye, NY

I can remember dancing around our living room listening to Bach's Brandenburg #4 on our little white Emerson radio when I was 4 years old. It is one of my first musical memories.

Mar. 21 2012 11:46 AM
August from Staten Island

Tough choice. I'll go with number one. The only one with four movements. Thanks for making the world a better place.

Mar. 21 2012 11:45 AM
Francesca Heller

Definitely the 5th. The cadenza at the end of the first movement is sheer ecstacy!!!!!

Mar. 21 2012 11:45 AM
Jeanne from Manhattan

I wish you could play them all, but, barring that, my vote goes to #4, because of the exquisite recorder harmonies contrasting with the strings and harpsichord. I also don't think it is played as often as some of the others, like 5 and 6.

Mar. 21 2012 11:39 AM
John Blasdale from Whippany NJ

Why play only one? Why not fill out the hour with those gorgeous Brandenburgs?

Mar. 21 2012 11:36 AM
Rebecca A Stone from Ossining, NY

Thanks, Jeff Spurgeon, for playing a bit of all 6 this morning so I could tell which one I like the most! I know which one I like the most by the way it sounds, not by the way it's numbered!

Mar. 21 2012 11:26 AM

No one can argue that each of the Brandburgs is anything less than a gem -- if not a masterpiece. However, my vote goes for No. 5, which has always been my favorite. It is both exquisite and grand, and the harpsichord cadenza at the end of the first movement is, simply stated, an inspired moment of genius.

Mar. 21 2012 11:17 AM
Bill from Boonton, NJ

My write in vote is that you play all 6!

Mar. 21 2012 10:57 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

I think you did this same Showdown with the Brandenburg Concertos last year. Are you running out of ideas? Not that I mind hearing one of these concertos again, but Bach wrote so much music that I would think you could find some of his other works to include in the Showdown this time.

Mar. 21 2012 10:57 AM
Andrew Barnard from Leola, PA

The 5th, because it is the most ambitious and interesting. The cadenza in the first movement paved the way for the modern concerto. I love my version with Murray Perahia playing the modern piano with the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, but an authentic performance has its own advantages.

Mar. 21 2012 10:41 AM
EileenCG from Katonah, NY

Number 6!

It was 1974 and I was sitting on a couch reading the Times when I asked my friend what record was playing. The Brandenburg Concerto, he said. I have been in love ever since, especially with the last movement of the 6th which is what caught my attention in the first place and captured my musical heart forever!

Mar. 21 2012 10:30 AM
Alberta Molnar from Princeton, NJ

Brandenburg #3 has been my favorite since I first heard it back in 1969 on Walter Carlos's synthesizer recording of "Switched on Bach." Although I've heard it performed by many chamber music ensembles over the years, the driving rhythm and vibrant sound of the strings always reminds me why Bach is and will always be my favorite composer.

Mar. 21 2012 10:20 AM
Bonnie Gustafsson from Bloomfield, NJ

Number 5! Always my fave. So full of joy!

Mar. 21 2012 10:17 AM
Bill Richards from Manhattan

Number Five has always been my favorite as I love Baroque harpsichord music.

Mar. 21 2012 10:15 AM
Tommy from Raleigh, NC

As others have already posted, no. 5 for the harpsichord cadenza.

Mar. 21 2012 10:14 AM

Happy Birthday Bach! Though I voted for #2, they are all my favs! The music is so lively, cheerful, Uplifting, beautiful! Of course it is, it's Bach!

Mar. 21 2012 09:33 AM
Janet Masterson from Pearl River, NY

I'm voting for No. 5 because the opening theme has been in my head for years. And when I walk by a piano, I can't resist plunking it out. But I never thought about where it came from. So now I'd like to hear the work in its entirety.

Mar. 21 2012 09:18 AM

I love them all, but I have to vote for #5. I love the harpsichord, which just goes totally off the charts at the end of the first movement. It gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it!

Mar. 21 2012 09:11 AM

I'm voting for the 6th, just because it isn't played as frequently as the others. They are all beautiful!

Mar. 21 2012 09:04 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

No 5 is my favorite because the keyboard player gets to escape the polite continuo and go nuts. In the hands a an adventurous player this can get right nasty. Love it!

Mar. 21 2012 07:50 AM
Carly Maziejka from Flushing, NY

A difficult decision to be sure, all are wonderful pieces and IF I had my choice I would play they all!
Grand Stuff!!

Mar. 21 2012 06:45 AM

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