Highlights from Bach’s orchestral works

Brandenburg Concertos

Brandenburg Concertos Brandenburg Concertos

The background

Brandenburg Concertos

Along with the St Matthew Passion, the ‘Brandenburg’ concertos belong to the highlights of Bach’s best-known works.

Bach treats many different instruments to virtuoso solos and creates unusual combinations.“

The series of six concertos was only given its epithet in the nineteenth century, in reference to Christian Ludwig von Brandenburg, the Berlin margrave to whom Bach sent the collection in 1721 as a musical letter of application. The score vanished behind lock and key and was only rediscovered in 1849. One year later, a century after Bach’s death, the series was published for the first time.

In the ‘Brandenburg’ concertos, Bach treats many different instruments to virtuoso solos and creates unusual combinations. In the sixth ‘Brandenburg’ concerto, for instance, the use of low stringed instruments creates dark timbres. Then there is the extensive and radiant Concerto no. 1 with its interesting horn part. Concerto no. 2 makes huge demands on the trumpet player’s virtuoso skills. And the spectacular Concerto no. 5 is dominated by the harpsichord, especially during the solo in the breathtaking first movement.

The concert

Works and Performance


Johan Sebastian Bach
‘Brandenburg’ Concerto no. 6, BWV 1051

Philipp Heinrich Erlebach
Affettuoso - Allegro - Grave from Sonata no. 6 in F major

Johan Sebastian Bach
‘Brandenburg’ Concerto no.1, BWV 1046
‘Brandenburg’ Concerto no. 2, BWV 1047

Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin
Andante from Flute Concerto in E minor

Johan Sebastian Bach
‘Brandenburg’ Concerto no. 5, BWV 1050


Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Shunske Sato

Experience more

View this work on All of Bach

'Brandenburg' Concerto No. 4 in G major

orchestral works, BWV 1049

'Brandenburg' Concerto No. 5 in D major

orchestral works, BWV 1050