Notes and Editorial Reviews
"Since Helmuth Rilling has undoubtedly recorded more of Bach's music than anyone else, one may wonder why it's taken him so long to get around to these most popular of the master's scores, and why he did so in Oregon, rather than in his hometown and with his Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, which he founded thirty years ago and has conducted ever since. But Rilling has been associated with the Oregon Bach Festival for nearly as many years, and he made a fine recording of Bach's overtures (orchestral suites) with the Festival Orchestral in 1992 (see Fanfare 16:6). While Rilling has never apologized for using of modern instruments in Bach's music and continues that practice here, he does retain the recorders in Concertos 2 and 4 and a viola da
gamba in No. 6. For the present recording, Rilling has assembled a distinguished group of soloists, headed by violinist Kathleen Lenski and including Jeffrey Kahane, harpsichord, Elizabeth Baker, violin (in Concerto No. 2), Judith Lisenberg, recorder, Allan Vogel, oboe, Carol Wincenc, flute, Cynthia Phelps, viola, and far from least, Stephen Burns, trumpet. Contending that Bach would not have inserted a whole piece between the first and last movements of the third concerto, Rilling simply decorates the two chords that make up the second movement with a brief harpsichord flourish. (The timings for the second and third movements are transposed in the booklet.)
As with his overtures, Rilling's Brandenburgs are comfortably familiar in their broad outline and offer a minimum of controversial details. The playing is always accomplished and sometimes much better than that. The Second Concerto—the best of the lot—is an unqualified success."
Review of original release of this recording, Hänssler 98927
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