Alas, the box of this set is really badly damaged. That must have been the result of the leaking faucet disaster long ago. It still smells musty. The records themselves are in perfect condition though. Clear sound. I think the recording itself is not really up to modern standards, but hey, this one is from 1967. What can you expect.
These concertos really belong to the best the baroque age has to offer. They’re easy to listen to, but so not easy to play. Bach makes it seem like a contest in virtuosity, with instruments competing against each other. It was presented like this in 1721, but in all probability already written way before that. Bach wrote most of it during his Köthen years (1708-1717).
The collection got a very fashionable French title: Six Concerts à plusieurs instruments. Bach presented it to the margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721, hence the name. The margrave didn’t have the orchestra needed for the work at his disposal, so it was never performed.
After his death, the manuscript was sold for 24 groschen in 1734. It disappeared, and was not found until 1849 in the archives of Brandenburg. It was published in that year. The manuscript was nearly lost in the WWII, when it came under bombardment and was rescued in the coat of a librarian.
Its real rise to fame came in modern times. It has been performed by many, but this recording by Karl Richter was deemed important enough to make it to space. It has been added to the record that was sent on Voyager in 1977.