|Comments:||Sebastian Millies said:|
This is such a good recording that I'm quite surprised that I have not been able to find a review in any of the major journals. Searching the web does not reveal more than a few passing references to it. Even the Bach Home Page does not list it yet (as of January 2003).
The Camerata of the 18th Century is formed by members of the Orchestra of the 18th Century, based in Amsterdam. Their performance is excellent - intonation, articulation and phrasing all very pleasing (none of Savall's occasional romantic swellings) and the tempi well-judged: fast (but never at the break-neck pace of Goebel), and no trace of stodginess in the slow movements). The timbre is on the warm side.
The engineering quality is extremely satisfying, too. Generally, the blend of solo instruments and orchestra is very nice, and the balance right (with a few exceptions, e.g. in the fifth concerto the flute seems somewhat favored over the other instruments). The sound is natural. In this respect it is far better than some older recordings (like Pinnock's), which are plagued by strident or grating sound.
The overall production makes a good impression, too: Someone seems to have actually proof-read the booklet. There are texts in German and English, with biographical information on all soloists. Also included are reproductions of excerpts from Bach's autograph scores.
One drawback of this set is that it is relatively expensive, but I still find it very easy to recommend warmly all round.