Eleonor Bindman and Jenny Lin - J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Duets

The Brandenburg Duets

I’ve always wanted to play Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in a piano duet arrangement but attempting the existing transcription by Max Reger revealed a serious shortcoming: the Primo part is a tangled forest of all treble parts and the Secondo part is sparse and boring by comparison. In 2014, when Concerto #2 seemed perfect for a piano duet concert, I discovered that even heavy editing of Reger’s score would not be enough for a viable performance: one had to start anew. So I worked out my own arrangement which was fun to play and loved by the audience. Naturally, there was no other choice but to re-arrange the other 5 Concertos. Thus the Brandenburg Duets were born out of necessity (after years of labor) and recorded with Jenny Lin for Grand Piano Records in 2018.  The release was a best-seller and is still gaining audiences through worldwide streaming. Since then, the new scores have been published in hard copy and electronically, finally bringing this superb body of music into the piano duet repertoire.  To complete the huge undertaking, I transcribed Bach’s 4 Orchestral Suites, which presented the same issues in Reger’s version, in 2022.


The Process:

Recording Rehearsals and In The Studio


“What Bindman and Lin achieve as a dual partnership… is breathtaking in its sheer precision and vitality.… Created well in time before the 300th anniversary of the Brandenburg Concertos, the young talents of the piano world will now dive into what could eventually be standard repertoire for piano duos.”

Donald Hunt, Pianist Magazine

“Bindman’s transcriptions have a clarity and a cleanliness that Reger’s lack, although Bindman’s and Lin’s playing no doubt also is a contributing factor.… I can’t say that I enjoyed hearing this any less than I enjoy hearing Bach’s originals. … I will be interested to see if the appearance of Bindman’s transcriptions in print will attract other musicians.… I think they can help us to hear these familiar works in new ways, and to gain a new understanding of them. For those reasons, I think they are valid, and Bindman and Lin make a great case for them.”

Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine

“With an equal collaboration between the two instrumentalists, using the full potential of the modern piano, to convey the unique writing and character of each concerto, the six concertos by both pianists Eleanor Bindman and Jenny Lin were arranged ( 1-3-5-6-4-2), that they create a fascinating listening series. Because Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti were never intended to be performed as a continuous series, their order is of little importance. You should not miss this version. It is very original and very, very special. Highly recommended.”

Michael Dutrieue, Stretto

“Eleonor Bindman’s new transcription of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos highlights their polyphony, imagining how Bach might have distributed the score if he had created four-part inventions for piano duet.”

Lisa Flynn, WFMT Chicago

“…pianists are going to greatly enjoy Eleonor Bindman’s new piano duo arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Brandenburg Concertos. … excellently recorded and immaculately balanced recordings…”

David Denton

“…an interesting audible vitality of blending and differentiating voices…[Bindman] achieves a full and interesting sounding score… [The Brandenburg Duets] adds greatly to the two-piano repertoire, which thrives as a four-hand performance –no orchestra necessary.”

Ilona Oltuski, GetClassical

“Eleonor Bindman’s arrangement is outstanding…Bindman and Jenny Lin really lean in to this freedom, swinging when Bach allows, and never staid or boring when things get more thoughtful or academic. … Though she may have started with purely pedagogical reasons for bringing this music to four hands and a piano keyboard… Bindman and Lin are obviously having too much fun here for it to be just that. And that makes it even more pleasurable for us to listen to.”

Dean Frey, Music for Several Instruments

“Eleonor Bindman has done a wonderful job for many musicians with her “Brandenburg Duets” project: a transcription of Bach’s Concertos Bach for 4 hands… The result is playfully as fresh and new as authentic and convincing. Balanced in sound, perfectly attuned to each other, the version reveals new sides to these works, and the pianists equally do justice to the solos as well as the tutti with four hands, so that it would be a real pleasure for Bach. The hope is to see the transcription published by 2020 in musical form – it would be a stroke of luck for the four-hand repertoire and its lovers. A wonderful recording.”

Piano News

“Do you really need a new edition of more than 1000 original compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach? Certainly – but only if it is as brilliant as Eleonor Bindman’s new transcription for four-hand piano of the famous “Brandenburg Concertos”. The Latvian-American pianist has succeeded in writing a version that focuses on the polyphony of the six concertos. The result is the “Brandenburg Duets”, which Bindman recorded together with pianist Jenny Lin. The recordings are as successful as the arrangements themselves. The two pianists are remarkably precise, literally melting together, yet pleasantly relaxed and with unmistakable joy in playing. The original character of the compositions remains, while at the same time they acquire new facets through the sound of the modern piano.”

Sal, Kulturnews

“Only pianists of the highest caliber could deliver these performances. Nothing I heard in these arrangements seemed out of place, and the phrasing and dynamic shaping of the lines were exceptional.… complete and very musical. It will give you a fresh look at some of Bach’s greatest works in piano arrangements that work quite well.”

James Harrington, American Record Guide

“Bindman’s transcription of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos is a significant accomplishment. It reflects Bach’s writing more than Reger’s romanticized arrangement by preserving the interaction between the varied soloists of the original pieces and by reserving the force of the piano’s bass for interpretive impact. Bindman also achieves her goal of making both piano parts equally engaging to play. Debuting The Brandenburg Duets through this exceptional recording, rather than through a published score, not only exhibits the insightfulness of Bindman’s decisions in preparing the arrangement, but also serves as an excellent vehicle to promote this much-needed contemporary transcription.”

Krystal J. F. Grant, IAWM Journal

“a recording…that will stand the test of time. … Through every key stroke, Bindman and Lin display a seamless and harmonious partnership and pour all their passion, vitality, and joy into each of the six concertos for piano four-hands. Overall, Bindman and Lin harken a world defined by powerful and imaginative nuance.”

The Classical Post