Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C, BWV 1066, Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067; Harpsichord Concerto in E, BWV 1053; Sinfonia from Cantata, BWV 42

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Linn
WORKS: Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C, BWV 1066, Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067; Harpsichord Concerto in E, BWV 1053; Sinfonia from Cantata, BWV 42
PERFORMER: Norwegian Baroque Orcfiestra/Keul Haugsand (harpsichord), Julian Podger
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 181
The Bach programme featured here is mainly directed by the Norwegian harpsichordist Ketil Haugsand, who is also the soloist in the E major Harpsichord Concerto (BWV 10531. Bur ir is Julian Podger, better known as a tenor, who directs the introductory Sinfonia to the cantata ‘Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats” (BWV 42). There is plenty of graceful, lively and stylish music-making in these performances, yet the upper strings too often sound undernourished and sometimes far from unanimous in tuning. The shortcomings are especially apparent in the Sinfonia, where the strings are outshone by accomplished woodwind contributions, and in the finale of the Concerto. The Suite in B minor, essentially a chamber piece, is played by single strings with limpid flute solos from Paul Wåhlberg: the Polonaise and its double, or variation, is nicely judged both for its character and its tempo, and much the same goes for the Menuet and concluding Badinerie. The C major Suite and the Harpsichord Concerto, both with enlarged string sections, come over well. In the Concerto, especially, the players sustain a textural transparency and a lightness of articulation which lend intimate charm to the piece. Haugsand is a communicative player whose technique is meticulous and whose intuitive gift at turning an elegant phrase is a constant pleasure. Nevertheless, from a standpoint of all-round finesse, performances of this Concerto by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert (DG Archiv) or Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music (Harmoma Mundi) are to be preferred. And my first choice for the Orchestral Suites remains Ton Koopmans earlier recording (BMG). But the newcomer does offer an attractive ‘programme’ with pleasing insights. Nicholas Anderson

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