This month’s outstanding releases veer between the old and the new, the known and the unknown, and what better place to start than The Brandenburg Project , a concept that encompasses all of them at the same time ( BIS BIS2199). The idea goes back to 2001 when Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra commissioned six contemporary composers – Mark-Anthony Turnage, Steven Mackey, Anders Hillborg, Olga Neuwirth, Uri Caine and Australia’s own Brett Dean – to write companion pieces to each of Bach’s famous Brandenburg Concertos. A mere 20 years later, here they are on a three-disc set, wildly inventive and frequently fun.

On the Record

Orchestra and conductor are on top form and, although my preference for the Bach originals would be original instrument performances, it’s a set well worth acquiring for the legendary Håkan Hardenberger making light of the fiendish trumpet part in Brandenburg Two, Mahan Esfahani a must-hear in No 5, and Pekka Kuusisto in No 3. As for the...