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Bach: the Complete Orchestral Suites

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 4 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0001W8E0A
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,722 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Ouverture
2. Bourree I & II
3. Gavotte
4. Menuet I & II
5. Rejouissance
6. Ouverture
7. Courante
8. Gavotte I & II
9. Forlane
10. Menuet I & II
11. Bourree I & II
12. Passepied
13. Ouverture
14. Air
15. Gavotte I & II
16. Bourree
17. Gigue
18. Ouverture
19. Rondeau
20. Sarabande
See all 24 tracks on this disc

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa085af54) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05f912c) out of 5 stars Nicely done and economical Oct. 4 2004
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
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.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05f97d4) out of 5 stars Flesh, not marble Aug. 18 2006
By Zeno - Published on Amazon.com
Whoever thinks of classical music (especially Bach) as thick and stodgy needs to have a listen to this CD. Pearlman's Bach is lively, not stately and soporific like many of the other versions I have either heard or own-- and for that reason it was a revelation.

I never realized how much of a difference the conductor makes in the way a piece is performed; clearly in Pearlman's case, he's not just some guy standing on a podium waving his arms. These performances are brimming with a life that brings out all the color and genius of Bach. Whatever your mood, I defy you to listen to these pieces without them bringing a smile to your face and a tap to your toes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suites have been a part of my listening experience for a very long time and I've heard them performed on many recordings plus in live performances. This one (1) disc recording of what is thought to be Bach's entire output of orchestral music that were written separately and, according to the notes, were written in the "French Style". Whatever the case may be, I found this recording by the Boston Baroque ensemble lead by Martin Pearlman to be extremely fresh sounding. No "heaviness" just extreme clarity of all parts especially in the counterpoint sections with all being articulated clearly and finely. The virtuosic sections are performed very excitingly with the slow parts being delivered movingly and majestically. However, it all sounded "new" to me--so fresh and clean. The recorded sound is good too. In other words, Perlman and the Boston Baroque have delivered a very fine recording of J.S.'s Orchestra Suites indeed. Try it, you'll like it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05f9960) out of 5 stars A slightly 'rounded' version of these suites performed on period instruments May 8 2013
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
This well recorded disc was made in 2003 with a leading group of American period specialists who have been enjoying regular success since 1973 when they were founded by Martin Pearlman who conducts them on this disc. The four suites are economically collected on the one disc that plays for just over 73 minutes. This gives an indication of the lively approach to the music in general, but not at all points. The last movement of the 'flute' suite is a notable example of a steadier speed than some which allows the music to 'dance' more without breathlessness.

Overall the main characteristics to note are, firstly, the faster than usual outer sections of each of the four overtures. The central sections are more regular in tempo so there is a weighting towards fleetness in the overtures. This is a significant point as the overtures are by far the largest part of each suite and the balance of tempo is thus quite different here.

Another characteristic is the relatively restrained impact of the three trumpets in suites 3 and 4. These are more blended with the rest of the players rather than providing the more dominant effect found in Gardiner's excellent account for example.

The final point worth mentioning is the changed order of the suites to 4, 1 3 then 2. This is in line with latest research which suggests that this is a more like chronological order. If this is a problem, then tracking order on CD players is easy to adjust.

This is a lively and very likeable set of the four suites. I would suggest that is makes an interesting and enjoyable complementary set to that by Gardiner, a set that I would not wish to be without. I would suggest that purchasers might be best served musically by investing in both sets but if only one is possible then both could be safely considered as an 'only' purchase.
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa07e95c4) out of 5 stars Great performance - Handelian? Dec 10 2004
By S. J. Snyder - Published on Amazon.com
Mr. VanderSande hits on a point or two that distinguish this from other period-instrument performances of the orchestral suite cycle.

Reading his review, I am prompted to put into concise words that of which this recording reminds me, now --

And that is that the Boston Baroque give a somewhat Handelian sound to Bach. While I'm not sure that would be ideal everywhere, it works quite well with the orchestral suites.

If you're starting to expand a basic Bach collection, buy this.