I love this CD. From the minute the music begins, you know this is going to be special. If you are familiar with Baroque trio sonatas, then you are in for a real treat. If you are new to this genre, this is a very good place to start. It may not be the very best place to start but more on that in a minute.
To explain Buxtehude's music is not an easy thing to do in a sound bite. You won't find singable melodies, power chords or even pyrotechnic vituousity by any of the players. Yet, if you are a patient and astute listener, the delights in this music are unending. As you become more familiar with this music, it will not only please you, it can teach and inform you as well. How is that you ask?
Buxtehude's music is mercurial, always changing, searching and exploring. Yet at the same time it is totally charming, effervescent, sweet and consoling. His music is imbued with remarkable intelligence and his construction is confident, assured and logical. His approach is lighter than Bach, but it does not lack substance in any way. In fact it is a wonderful blend of rich ideas and an almost kind gentleness that doesn't preach to you or self consciously try to impress.
What really sells me on this disc is the playing. The music is great enough, but you need artists that have the requisite sensitivity and technical assurance to allow the music to bloom completely without their own showiness interfering. That is the case here. In fact, I can't think of another example of a group that exceeds this one in allowing the music to spring forth so naturally. The sounds tickle the ear but never cloy while the music takes your mind on a journey you likely will want to repeat. That is one advantage to this style of music, since it doesn't continuously recycle any one melody, it won't run through your head uninvited later on.
If you like Baroque music, I don't see how this could disappoint. If you are looking for an introduction to Buxtehude, go ahead because I think you will find this to be great. If Baroque music is rather new to you, you might want to start with something a little more mainstream like Vivaldi or Telemann. Keep in mind Buxtehude predates all of these composers. Still, the music sounds remarkably modern and vital and I would still recommend this to anyone who is willing to open their ears and mind. I promise if you do, this will reward you again and again.