Bach Harpsichord Concertos - Andreas Staier
I came late to acquiring this recording, published in 2015 on Harmonia Mundi with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. It includes the seven solo harpsichord concertos by J.S. Bach. The accompanying orchestra changes among the concerti from a large ensemble with secondary harpsichord continuo and strings (3/3/2/2/1) to single strings and no extra continuo. Staier performs on a copy of a 1734 Hass instrument which has a particularly strong, piquant flavor, cutting through the strings.
Balance between orchestra and harpsichord is good, but the orchestra is pitted at some distance acoustically from the solo instrument. This setup helps balance but doesn't deliver the sharpest clarity.
Performance wise, I think this recording is among the very best recordings of Bach's harpsichord concertos. Staier's tempos work well and his inclusion of cadenza material is a welcome bonus. Probably more than most recordings I own, this one makes hearing the solo part very easy. I owe this both to the sound of the instrument but also the balance achieved by the recording engineers.
Even if you already own BWV 1052-1058, I think most readers would benefit from acquiring this especially strong recording from the FBO and Andreas Staier.