For several decades, as solo harpsichordist and director of his ensemble Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini has been exploring not just the Italian repertoire that he is so passionate about, but also the works of Bach –as in his benchmark recording of the Brandenburg Concertos in 2005. In this new recording, Ales-sandrini has mounted a challenge to all currently available recordings of those four Orchestral Suites that Bach called ‘Overtures’, after their imposing opening movements. We don’t know when these dance suites were composed, nor where they were first performed, but they were certainly played in Leipzig at the time Bach was directing its celebrated Collegium Musicum. Here Alessandrini has once again sifted all availableRead more sources, putting the composer’s entire output under the microscope to identify the most authentic details of style and orchestration. The result is a subtle balance between Bach’s intricate contrapuntal writing and the spontaneity of his dances, with their French and Italian influences. Together with these majestic, festive, radiant works by J.S. Bach, Concerto Italiano presents two Overtures in the same instrumental mold by Johann Bernhard and Johann Ludwig Bach –two composer cousins with whom Johann Sebastian enjoyed lifelong ties of mutual friendship and esteem. During his Leipzig years he had their Overtures copied out, so he could perform them with the Collegium Musicum. Here then is a welcome opportunity to hear these two superb orchestral pieces in the contemporary context of Bach’s own music.
Fans of these players won’t need much encouragement to purchase this, indeed, it should act as a reminder that Concerto Italiano and Rinaldo Alessandrini haven’t gained their reputation without good reason.
The sound quality is very immediate, especially for the winds, but not tiring. The notes, which run to nine pages on the music, are erudite, tracing in detail the history of the JSB works and their connection to the Leipzig Collegium Musicum. – MusicWeb International Read less
Soloist drowned out by accompaniment January 7, 2020By Steven Thompson (Manassas, VA)See All My Reviews"The b minor suite features a baroque flutist who is sometimes covered by accompaniment. It's fine during tutti sections to cover the soloist but so unmusical to hear the accompaniment twice as loud as the soloist especially when the soloist is playing complicated sixteenth note patterns."Report Abuse
Fresh, slightly idiosyncraticDecember 11, 2019By Jos Janssen See All My Reviews"As is often the case with Alessandrini's Bach, the result is a very fresh approach, well thought out and superbly executed. Helped by a detailed and quite immediate recording. If you want to know why the adjective idiosyncratic: listen to the forlane of the first suite. Alessandrini goes where no man has gone before. Fascinating stuff. But it may spoil you for other recordings."Report Abuse