Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mogens Wöldike - Two Brandenburg Concertos

Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg
As the 200th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach approached in the year 1950, several record companies worldwide engaged in a flurry of activity making new recordings of his works, including several versions of the six Brandenburg Concertos.  Columbia had a version with Fritz Reiner conducting an ad hoc ensemble of New York players, and Decca had the newly-signed Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra under its founder, Karl Münchinger.  HMV countered with piecemeal issues of the six concertos with Mogens Wöldike leading two different Danish ensembles (Nos. 3 and 6 being done by an ensemble of soloists), recorded over a span of one-and-a-half years.  Nos. 4 and 6 of this set can be heard at the CHARM website; to complement these, I present Wöldike's readings of Nos. 3 and 5:

Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
Chamber Ensemble of the Chapel Palace, Copenhagen,
conducted by Mogens Wöldike
Recorded December 1, 1949
Bach: Partita No. 1 in B-Flat, BWV 825 - Sarabande
Liselotte Selbiger, harpsichord
Recorded February 3, 1950
HMV C 3947 and C 3948, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 40.01 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 25.03 MB)

Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050
Herman D. Koppel, harpsichord; Leo Hansen, violin; Poul Birkelund, flute;
Danish State Broadcasting Chamber Orchestra
conducted by Mogens Wöldike
Recorded May 31, 1950
HMV DB 20118 through DB 20120, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 60.63 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 37.54 MB)

Herman D. Koppel, the harpsichordist in No. 5, can be heard in an utterly different triple concerto here - as pianist in Niels Viggo Bentzon's Chamber Concerto recorded the following year.

For those interested, here are the particulars of the order of recording for Wöldike's set of Brandenburgs, culled from Michael Gray's listings, WERM, and Frank Andrews' HMV "C" Series Discography:

No. 4 - mats. 2CS2718-22: Nov 29 '49 & Mar 1 '50* (DB 20109-11 & C 4073-5)
No. 3 - mats. 2CS2723-25: Dec 1 '49 (DB 5291-2 & C 3947-8)
No. 6 - mats. 2CS2813-17: May 27 '50 (DB 20121-3 & C 4164-6)
No. 5 - mats. 2CS2819-24: May 31 '50 (DB 20118-20)
No. 2 - mats. 2CS2908-11: Dec 20 '50 (DB 20107-8 & C 7848-9)
No. 1 - mats. 2CS2952-56: Mar 10 & 11 '51 (DB 20140-2)

*Most, if not all, issued takes of No. 4 are surely from the later date, on the evidence of the high take numbers (4's and 6's).


  1. Alternate links:

    No. 3 - FLACs:

    No. 3 - MP3s:

    No. 5 - FLACs:

    No. 5 - MP3s:

  2. Thank you very much indeed for these! All six Concertos were transferred to CD by Classico of Denmark but your transfers have nothing to fear - and you offer fillers and, as always, the best documentation! One of the first early cycles, unfairly neglected. Thanks for reminding us about the CHARM transfers, too - I'd downloaded them but not put them on 'the system'. (And thanks also for the full disco data - helps tag the CHARM files.) Really great start to the week! Thanks again, Nick

  3. Woldike is such an underrated conductor. For me his Haydn 99-104 remain the greatest ever.

    Good to have some more of his artistry.

  4. I can only find the sixth on the CHARM site. Am I missing something?

    1. On the CHARM sound file search page,, you have to select 'Conductor' in the first of the three drop-down boxes (and 'W', obviously) and then you'll see 'Woldike, Mogens' in the list (no diacritics possible), with 11 sides to his name. Separating 'artists' and 'conductors' isn't how I'd do it, but there you go... Best wishes, Nick