Bach recording is fresh and vital

A beautiful performance of Ouverturen by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is a must for all Bach and Baroque fans

Composer: Bach
Repertoire:  Ouverturen – Orchestral Suites Nos 1-4
Artists: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: Harmonia Mundi HMC902113/14

The Music: Called ‘ouverturen’ because their first-movement overtures decisively dwarf the following dance movements, Bach’s four orchestral suites are an often toe-tappingly light-hearted synthesis of French and Italian styles. They also trumpet Bach’s adaptability, as the woodwind and brass parts we’re now so familiar with were actually later, brilliantly done reworkings of strings-only originals.

The Performance: The FBO’s credo is about encouraging
the creative curiosity of each individual member within an overall framework of exciting ensemble playing. This two-disc recording does exactly that in a lively and beautifully expressive performance. Vibrant and sonorous of tone, they’ve wonderfully translated the crisp warmth of Bach’s masterpieces. The energy they bring to the music is  accompanied by an instinctive feel for the subtleties of rhythm and pace. Even the famous Air from the D major Suite sounds new and vital.

The Verdict: This is the kind of recording to make Bach and Baroque performance fans catch their breaths with pleasure. The FBO has achieved a wonderful combination of period authenticity, delivered with vibrancy, colour and expression.

Why You’ll Love This

    * Festive Feel

There’s a festive mood to much of this music, from the ebullient ‘Réjouissance’ of Suite No.1, to Suite No.4’s first movement, which Bach did actually use in his Cantata 110 for Christmas day.

    * Air On The G String Heard Anew
Aside from the FBO’s sonorous tone accentuating the Air’s rich textures, their interpretation also brings out Bach’s incredibly beautiful inner-part writing. As the movement progresses, enjoy the interwoven lines increasing in contrapuntal complexity and becoming almost rhapsodic in feel.

    * French Majesty
The overture to Suite No.1 is an absolute masterpiece. It’s written in the French style, opening with crisp dotted- rhythms, followed by a joyful, galloping second section full of intricately woven instrumental dialogue.