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Concert Hour: Bach at the Schwetzingen Festival (Pt. 1 of 2)

Up this week: The period instrument enthusiasts of the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin with works by Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons, performed at a dazzling Rococo palace as part of the Schwetzingen Festival.

Who's the greatest Bach son of them all? After taking in the concert in this week's program from the most recent Schwetzingen Festival, Concert Hour host Rick Fulker had to give it some thought. We'll hear the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin (Academy for Ancient Music Berlin) with works by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as sons Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel.

The Akademie are adherents of historically informed performance practice and play on period instruments in concert. Those instruments are showcased in the first piece in this broadcast - the elder Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 - which can be called a "group concerto," a piece in which various solo instruments are combined to produce different timbres. This well-known work is played in Bach's first version here, featuring a different instrumentation and clocking in a bit shorter.

Then we turn to works by each of Bach's two eldest sons - the first is a piece full of spontaneous twists and turns; the second more concentrated until a concluding presto in which the energy is released. On stage, the musicians trade knowing glances and express visible enthusiasm for the music.

"It's really something special that a number of these people have played together for 30 years," says concert master Georg Kallweit, telling us about how the spirit of the orchestra has emerged only after years of collaboration.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Brandenburg concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046a (first version)

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784)
Concerto in E Minor for harpsichord, strings and continuo (excerpt)

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Symphony in B Minor for strings and continuo, Wq 182, No. 5

Raphael Alpermann, harpsichord
Akademie für alte Musik Berlin

Recorded by Southwest German Radio Stuttgart (SWR) on May 23, 2014, in the Rococo Theater of Schwetzingen Palace

Rebroadcasting rights: One broadcast before July 31, 2015

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