Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos - Sunday Herald Scotland
Crisp, freshly thought and very carefully realised without loss of apparent spontaneity - that's my take on the brand-new Linn recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos from John Butt and the Dunedin Consort, their first all-instrumental recording for the label. There are some distinctive qualities that characterise Butt's interpretation, not least his pacing of the opening movement of the first Concerto, a real big-band baroque piece with massive textures. Butt, uniquely in my Brandenburg collection, actually sets a moderate pace, which means that the usual rammy at the start is cleared (it often sounds like a jam session in an asylum) and you can actually hear the parts. And did I detect a hint of bendy-note recorder playing in Brandenburg Four? As for that lunatic harpsichord cadenza in the Fifth, I won't say that Butt has tamed it (that would spoil the fun), but the Wild Thing of Baroque music is better behaved and more lucid than usual.