Originally recorded in stereo in 1978 and 1979 and released on two separate LPs, these performances of Bach's Orchestral Suites (also known as the Overtures) with Trevor Pinnock leading his English Consort were as good as it got at the time for period instrument performances. And this 2007 single-disc re-release does not change that assessment. The Consort's strings are dry but warm -- check out the Air from the Third Suite -- the winds are colorful and quirky -- check out the Forlane from the First Suite -- the brass is controlled but cutting -- check out the Ouverture from the Fourth Suite -- and the timpani is vivacious but thankfully not overwhelming -- check out the Réjouissance, also from the Fourth Suite. Pinnock's conducting is almost universally light and lively, and when it's not in the Second Suite, it's because the music itself is dark and dreary. Although there are dozens of great performances of the suites to choose from, if you're only going to have one recording on the shelf, it should be Pinnock's. Archiv's stereo sound is cool, clean, and wonderfully detailed.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066|
|Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067|
|Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068|
|Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069|