Notes and Editorial Reviews
Period-instrument performers have become so adept (and let's face it, from a purely technical point of view, much of the music isn't so difficult to play) that releases such as this are almost impossible to criticize. True, you don't get the B minor Suite for flute and strings and thus miss hearing the original version of Badinerie, one of the more popular call signals on today's cellular telephones (I wonder what old Bach would have thought of that?). But at more than 67 minutes, no one could call this program ungenerous. In fact, the arrangement of the three suites (the two in D flanking the one in C) makes a very satisfying program to enjoy at a sitting, and the performances themselves are for
all intents and purposes perfect.
Jeanne Lamon and her redoubtable ensemble know this music like the back of their hands, and they obviously love it too. It would be difficult to describe a more invigorating and freshly imagined approach to these works. The Overtures step lively, projecting grandeur without pomposity, and happily do not make a fetish over those dotted rhythms. The quick movements, particularly the Gavottes and Gigue in Suite No. 3, the Forlane and Passepieds in Suite No. 1, and the Réjouissance from Suite No. 4 with which the program ends, certainly will set your toe tapping. They are irresistible. The famous Air (not on a G string) flows serenely, but the string-playing never sounds pinched or cold as so often happens on period instruments. These performers stroke their instruments gracefully: they don't squeeze them like a near-empty tube of toothpaste.
It's true, there's a lot of competition in this music, and there are performances with more emphasis, say, on trumpets and drums (Kuijken, for example) in the suites that call for them, though none are better balanced, or more warmly recorded than these. In short, this disc is a joy from start to finish, and if you're looking for a fine single disc of Bach's suites and don't miss No. 2 in B minor terribly, you simply can't go wrong in choosing this refreshing and supremely polished production from Analekta.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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