Norwegian Baroque Orchestra - Bach Orchestral Suites and Harpsichord Concerto -

Artistic Quality: 9 / Sound Quality: 10

Let's face it: just about everybody, especially early music specialists, plays these works well. The chamber-sized Norwegian Baroque Orchestra, under the leadership of Ketil Haugsand, is no exception. Thanks to its small complement, this group gives texturally clear, incisive readings that are in tune, technically flawless, and will not disappoint: you simply hear every note Bach wrote in these well-known works. As is now typical of Linn's recordings, the sound is absolutely stunning and spacious, benefiting from the HDCD encoding that is clearly marked on the CD tray and inside booklet. Tempos throughout tend to be either sprightly or stately, although some of the choices in the B minor suite may not be to everyone's taste. The opening prelude of the Ouverture is quite fast (not really the "Lentement" prescribed in the score) and the Rondeau and Sarabande alike are perhaps too moderate and retiring in conception. Still, if you are looking for a straightforward interpretation, superbly recorded, this one could be for you.
03 March 2008