Martin Pearlman and the Boston Baroque have finally recorded these staples of Baroque literature. First let me start by letting readers know that this is the Magnificant BWV 243 in D and not the earlier version (BWV 243a) in Eb. The majority of this review will focus mostly on the Magnificant since it is the main reason of my purchase. Compared to Gardiner, Herreweghe, McCreesh, Suzuki (Bach Collegium Japan) and Koopman this recording holds up finely. Pearlman's tempos are brisk but not, as most would agree, as brisk as McCreesh's opening Magnificant (108 on the metronome!). An overall commanding performance by the singers and soloists.
As a baroque trumpet player, I listen mostly for the balance of the trumpets and drums with the choir. Sadly, I felt that the first trumpet parts were not played suitably loud enough and the supporting second and third parts (as well as the drums) covered its tricky ascending lines. In the opening movement, the first trumpet part tops a high E (which is sadly squeaked out). John Thiessen plays first trumpet, regrettably, using a MODERN mouthpiece which thus limits the full breadth of the baroque trumpet. It is also unfortunate Boston contracted him when living in the state of Massachusetts is the godfather of the baroque trumpet Fred Holmgren (of the notorious Josh Rifkin Bach Ensemble glory days). Fred plays much louder and could have easily topped off this trumpet section to be a firm machine. The second and third parts did a great job.
I'm done picking at the trumpets and ready to tell you that overall this recording is quite good, including the packaging, artwork, etc. Telarc goes to great lengths these days to provide the highest level of sound recording. I am interested to see the next Boston Baroque recording and crossing my fingers it is more Bach (especially cantatas).