Ensemble Masques - Bach: Ouvertures-Suites - Gramophone

If you wish to test the mettle of a recording of Bach’s Overtures – known to many as his Orchestral Suites, or as here, his ‘Ouvertures-Suites’ – go straight to the Suite No 2, BWV1067. The joyous swing of the Ouvertures from Nos 1 and 3 are easy, relatively speaking, to carry off; the Second Suite in B minor is a more mysterious creature to capture. Or, as you might spot here, it’s actually in A minor. Olivier Fortin and Ensemble Masques are inspired by the musicological moves made by Gonzalo X Ruiz on his recording with Monica Huggett and her Ensemble Sonnerie on which solo flute is replaced by oboe. Numerous copying errors in the manuscript parts suggest that the Suite was originally a whole tone lower, making it too low to be playable on a flute from Bach’s time. It’s a musicologically sound decision, and with fine results, too. Oboist Jasu Moisio, whose tone I have previously praised as ‘honeyed and enticingly thin’ (8/21), is on excellent form.

01 September 2022