JS Bach: Suites pour Orchestre

COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: Mirare
WORKS: Orchestral Suites Nos 1 & 4; Sonatafor violin and harpsichord No. 4,BWV 1017; Cantata BWV 21 – Sinfonia
PERFORMER: Amandine Beyer (violin),Alfredo Bernardini (oboe);Le Concert Français/Pierre Hantaï

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Pierre Hantaï, among the most impressive keyboard interpreters of Bach today, here assumes the additional role of directing Le Concert Français, an ensemble he founded over 15 years ago.

The main works here are Bach’s Orchestral Suites Nos 1 in C major and 4 in D major, the latter being performed in its final version, with trumpets and drums added to the strings, oboes and bassoons of an earlier one.

The all-Bach programme further includes the C minor Sonata (BWV 1017) for harpsichord and violin and the poignant Sinfonia, also in C minor of the cantata Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (BWV 21).

I hope very much that this project will eventually be completed by a disc which includes the Suites Nos 2 and 3 since the performances are outstandingly stylish. Seldom, perhaps never before, have I heard such a crisp and arresting start to the overture of the Fourth Suite.

I am always emotionally stirred by this wonderful movement; it was clearly much favoured by Bach himself who transformed it into one of the most exhilarating choruses in his entire cantata canon (BWV 110).

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Hantaï and his players bring an irresistible lightness of touch to both Suites. At once joyful and with all the grace and elegance later so much admired by Goethe, this performance is music-making of a high order.