Written for violin, two flutes, strings and continuo, the Fourth Brandemburg Concerto is one of the most peculiar concertos written by Bach. “Fiauti d’echo” were the words used to describe the type of flute to be played, which is an unusual term that does not tell us exactly the kind of instrument to be used. Because of the characteristics of the instrument, the contralto baroque recorders have been the most used in this concerto.
Another aspect to be considered is the functionality of the recorders in the Concerto as a whole. Are they at the same level as the violin solo or, on the contrary, they are two instruments conceived as part of the orchestra? If the second, we might call it Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. While it is true that conventionalisms were hard to avoid in this period, it was quite likely that the Brandemburg Concertos were experiments by Bach in which he tried to research new possibilities inside the baroque concerto.
In Symphonia Orbitalis Chamber Orchestra, we have followed these experiments using recorders as instruments that belong within the orchestra.
The Overture from L’Orfeo di Monteverdi arranged for two recorders, strings and continuo has offered us a chamber version of the piece quite different from the original pomposity that the composer was looking for at the beginning of his most famous opera. Belonging to the first baroque and with a festive atmosphere, it has not been easy to choose the kind of recorders for this work. We have opted for the Ganassi model of recorder and they have fitted this music perfectly. They are pure instruments of the orchestra in the tutti sections with full freedom to develop their virtuoso facet in the soloist sections.
On the other hand, the overture from the comedy-ballet Lully's Le Bourgueois Gentilhomme shows us an enormous contrast from the festivity of the Monteverdi masterwork. It is a more courteous music with dramatic airs from the second half of the 17th century. We have approached it from another point of view, using soprano and contralto baroque recorders. The orchestral role of these instruments in this music is complete, filling perfectly the contrapuntist melodies of the violins.
The fourth piece in the program is the famous Suite Abdelazer of Henry Purcell. The Orchestra performs it in a traditional way with strings and continuo, giving special importance to the characteristic accents that the music of this period offers us.