La Fenice, directed by Jean Tubery, perform works by various composers from the library of J.S. Bach on 2 CDs, (p) 2001 Opus 111
This was originally reviewed in January, 2003.
This was an interesting collection to put together. Kind of like I was a famous musician, and you went poking around in my CD collection… well, not quite, but you get the idea. Represented are Frescobaldi, Johann Michael Bach, Johann Pachelbel, Johann Reincken, J. Rosenmüller, Fraçois Dieupart, Buxtehude, and of course, JS Bach. Wait, this is a 2-CD set. We also get more modern works by Albinoni, Raison, De Grigny, and then another generation back to d’Angelbert. It’s not surprising to see so much keyboard music. One JM Bach cantata performed by soprano Salome Haller is well done. Hearing cornetto in the mix is a bit strange, but who am I to challenge authenticity of Johann Michael Bach works… The recorded sound is not the very best, but I really admire the ornamentation that sounds very appropriate from the soloist. The ciaccona by Pachelbel reminds one of the opening of Bach’s great Passacaglia in C minor for organ. The inspiration for the idea? Who knows. What is very interesting about this release is the separation of nationalistic styles that found a mixture in the works of JS Bach. Unfortunately, our good violinist gets drowned out too often by the louder instruments (bassoon, cornett, etc.) I enjoyed hearing a sonata by Fux that included trombone. I am not sure this was the original instrumentation or not, but this music sounds so far removed from the works of Bach. The violin sonata by Albinoni is a perfect example of why this recording suffers: great playing by a baroque violinist (Amandine Beyer) with a sickly thin tone that is no doubt the result of poor microphone placement. Good baroque keyboard instruments are used (harpsichord - Bruce Kennedy) and three separate recording locations were required for this CD set (harpsichord, organ, and ensemble). While all the music in this collection is not arresting, this is an indispensable release for those interested in the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach. (After reading through this review that is now over 7 years old, I find in my collection some recordings by Amandine Beyer and have enjoyed them, such as her recording by Matteis. This recording is still in my rotation, although I typically pick and choose one or two works at one time.)