LABELS: DG Archiv
WORKS: Ouverture in C; Ouverture in D; Ouverture in B flat
PERFORMER: The English Concert/Trevor Pinnock
CATALOGUE NO: 437 558-2 DDD
The four orchestral Ouvertures of Bach have unjustly overshadowed the 130-plus by Telemann. These three, one long published, the others newly transcribed, reveal great wit and individuality. In the familiar C major suite, oboes pretend to be trumpets; ‘sleep’ is depicted by lazy, lingering last notes. The performance shows Baroque oboe and bassoon playing of the highest order, purposefully articulated, immaculately in tune.
Two hunting horns add a sizzling coarse edge to the tone quality in the second Ouverture, and the playing of these notoriously hazardous instruments is similarly first-rate – virtually crack-free, flexible and unfailingly in tune.
The third suite reverts to the solo group of three oboes and bassoon, beginning with a French overture which becomes a jocose gigue in echo between wind quartet and strings. The following movements are astonishingly imaginative and varied, including the drowsiest of Airs, a vigorously Vivaldian ‘Combattans’ and a Passepied with a teasingly ambiguous pulse.
Pinnock’s phrasing is always purposeful without becoming quirky, and he imparts great rhythmic energy from the harpsichord in the middle of the English Concert.
This is a delightful disc, full of colour and melodies which linger in the memory long after the music has stopped. George Pratt