I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Bach: Sonate per 'Le Concert Français'

Some years ago I acquired an interesting-looking CD with golden piles on it... of Bach's "sonatas" by Le Concert Français, namely, Mr. Marq on recorder, Mr. Fernandez on violin, and Mr. Hantaï on harpsichord. They were performing a variety of works, including several of Bach's trio sonatas for organ, here, re-arranged, as others had already done. Namely, the King's Consort and the Palladian Ensemble. This recording however doesn't cover BWV 525-530 completely, and instead adds some other works, like the cello sonata, BWV 1008 played by recorder (alone). While I'm a sucker for complete collections, a little variety would be nice. I told myself. Bach's trio sonatas work on the organ well. I have Mr. Koopman to thank to prove that to me. And the King's Consort does a really superb job at performing the sonatas as chamber music, using a combination of instruments. In fact, it is their best recording to date, under my own judgement. Le concert français sadly does not offer the same quality reading as the Brits did in their earlier release on Hyperion. That record had "life" in the notes. Sensual playing, to be sure, each player living the line they were assigned. Which is funny, as the LCF are all excellent players. The sound of the recording is well done. Why do recorder players (and Sebastien Marq is an excellent one) insist on playing Bach's cello works? I'm sorry, it just doesn't convince me. In fact, I could have done without the pedal piece too, BWV 598, which leaves us with the ensemble pieces. They are played well, no doubt, although some tempo choices I felt were a little... slow, but that allows performers to have more control in shaping line. And that's what I missed most. I know it was in their grasp, perhaps, but it wasn't ever fully realized. Too timid to stand out? Bach's sonatas on different instruments mean you can accentuate the line in ways you cannot do on the keyboard. And there is some going on, but it could have been more blatant and more exaggerated. For my taste. The CD is not bad; it simply doesn't arrest your attention.

Dudamel and Beethoven

Bach Motets