- Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051
After recording J.S. Bach's "Brandenburg Concertos" to near perfection with the English Concert in 1982, it might seem redundant for Trevor Pinnock to try his hand at them again in this 2007 set with the European Brandenburg Ensemble. Allowing for certain variables of interpretation and execution between the two versions, which should be expected at a remove of 25 years, one can still expect Pinnock to turn in elegant period readings that don't diverge too dramatically from his earlier recordings on Archiv. On this exquisite set, released by Avie -- a label that lets its artists take creative risks that many major labels won't -- Pinnock explores the "Brandenburgs" with considerable freedom and inventiveness, particularly in adjusting the size of his ensemble according to acoustical needs, and in his employment of musicians from several different countries and performing backgrounds. To the trained ear, these concertos have a slightly darker coloration, due to the tuning at A415, and some experts may detect where the high- or low-tone violones are used in substitution for the standard cello or double bass. Yet to most listeners, these performances won't sound experimental or daring, since the changes are wholly appropriate to the Baroque era, when instrumentation and other practices varied in almost every performance. Yet in terms of expression, this set may seem a little richer, warmer, and a bit more relaxed than its predecessor, and the ensemble's presence is almost palpable in the close-up, highly detailed reproduction. Anyone who already owns the earlier recordings may feel this attempt is "gilding the lily," but Pinnock's second traversal of the "Brandenburgs" is definitely worth hearing, and is highly recommended to others who need a terrific version, by any standard.