Karl Richter’s recordings of Bach’s orchestral and sacred music influenced an entire generation of musicians and listeners, presenting the conductor’s unique sound and style. When Richter recorded Bach’s works, he freed them from a ponderous tradition that had mired the music in romantic sounds and idiom. Richter lightened Bach’s music, and, with an orchestra of outstanding musicians, helped bring it toward the more modern interpretations that listeners have become familiar with today. This is still a bit far from the historically-informed performances that are pretty much the norm, but there is a unity and natural originality that comes through the music in these recordings.
The music of the Eighteenth century features delicate textures and refinement as well as expressiveness and energy. This was the age of the smaller chamber orchestra, and Bach was one of the compositional geniuses of the century. In this recording, the award-winning Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, which specializes in authentic renditions on fine reproduction period instruments, performs four delightful Bach suites, including No. 1 in C, No. 2 in B Minor and Nos. 3 and 4 in D Major.
Hans-Martin Linde and his consort of period instruments emphasize the glories of Bach's marvellous tonal palette, making much of the sonorities afforded by the writing. From beginning to end these are performances which set the blood coursing through one's veins; Linde reckons that if Bach went to the trouble of scoring movements for trumpets, drums, oboes, bassoons and strings, then he probably was aiming at vivid, if not heroic gestures. [N.A. Gramophone+[/quote]
These four suites, which Bach gave the title ouverture in a reference to French opera, contain some of Bach's finest orchestral writing. Each is composed of a series of dance movements scored for strings and a small contingent of winds. Sir Neville Marriner leads a delightful performance on modern instruments.
Gavrilov is a pianist of outstanding virtuosity and power. In 1974 Melodiya recorded the 1st Tchaikovsky-concerto at the pricewinner concert of the Tchaikovsky competition together with a live solo recital. 1976 a studio recording of the 3rd Rachmaninoff concerto followed. From 1977 to 1989 he worked exclusively for EMI. From that time dates the legendary recording of the Chopin-Etudes and many other works, notably from Chopin, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and J.S. Bach. From 1991 to 1993 he recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, where Gavrilov, who among new works keeps his core repertoire, also duplicated some works already recorded for EMI. A number of projects with many Gavrilov-premieres was no more realized, Bach's English Suites, the complete Beethoven piano concerti, the Choral Fantasie and the Diabelli Variations, as well as more vague plans with works by Liszt (Etudes d'execution transcendante, Paganini-Etudes), Ravels complete works for piano solo and with orchestra, the piano concertos of Grieg und Schumann and Benjamin Brittens Golden Vanity. In 2009 a number of new DVD-recordings is planned for release.
A very different set than Teldec's Bach 2000. The Hanssler Bachakademie, supervised by Helmut Rilling, is not HIP (historic instruments performance). The orchestras are warm and lush (but not huge). The soloists are, in general, extraordinary. The tempos are sane. Hanssler has included fragments of some incomplete BWV's that are not included in the Teldec set; a minor plus but appealing. I found I preferred these traditional instruments and the daring using of forte-piano in place of harpsichord on a few of the recordings (flute sonatas). Highlights for me are The Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 and 2, Musical Offering, Flute Sonatas, The Motets. I also found I prefer these Cantatas recordings to any other, including the new Koopman, Suzuki and the well-known Leonhart-Harnoncourt. While not the newest recordings, the sound is warmer which I prefer to the new state-of-the-art HIP recordings. Although most of the Cantatas are older recordings, much of the Hanssler Bachakademie edition is newly recorded for this project and the sound is consistent and excellent.