Here's a recent version of all Bach's orchestral suites done by a period band on one CD. I've owned a lot of recordings of this music over the past 30 years, beginning with Pablo Casals recordings with the Marlboro Festival Orchestra way back when. The most recent was the wonderful period performances by Alte Musik Berlin. The main downside of these recordings was the performances of Suites 1-3 tended to sound the same, which made buying two CDs something of a risk.
That was resolved for a lot of people when the single CD performance led by Neville Marriner appeared in the 1970s. That recording has stood the test of time and had the one-CD market to itself...until this one came along. In this recording, Martin Pearlman leads the Boston Baroque period band in somewhat romanticized concepts of the music. The timpani bellows in these recordings in a way you don't often hear in period performance. There are also ritards at the end of symphonic statements, another trend away from PPP. And Pearlman tends to dot the rhythmic pulse in concluding moments, like he does in the Passsapied finale of the Suite No. 1 in C Minor.
I like all these affects and believe it brings a warmth and slight romance to the music that isn't often heard these days. What I like most, however, is the unhurried performance of the wonderful Suite No. 2, where flutist Chirstopher Krueger gives competition to every name performer that has done this music. This is a very different performance than I have ever heard in this wonderful music. The relaxed performance allows Bach's score to breathe, take life and wing, and float along as if gossamer mist in a slight wind.
Not every moment of this CD is this perfect but most of them are pretty darn good. Listeners looking for an economical approach to the complete Bach orchestral suite canon have this and the "ancient" Marriner versions to choose from. This one is in new millennium DDD sound, is wonderfully played, is warm and verging on a romantic approach, and can be had for $5-$8 used on Amazon.com. There's not much reason to reject it, in my opinion.