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Bach: Overtures / Ouvertures: The 4 Orchestral Suites [Hybrid SACD] Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import, October 25, 2005
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: I. Ouverture
  2. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: II. Air
  3. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: III. Gavotte I - II - I
  4. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: IV. Bourrée
  5. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: V. Gigue
  6. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: I. Ouverture
  7. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: II. Courante
  8. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: III. Gavotee I - II - I
  9. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: IV. Forlane
  10. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: V. Menuet I - II - I
  11. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: VI. Bourrée I - II - I
  12. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: VII. Passepied I - II - I
  13. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: I. Ouverture
  14. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: II. Rondeau
  15. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: III. Sarabande
  16. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: IV. Bourrée I - II - I
  17. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: V. Polonaise - Double - Polonaise
  18. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: VI. Menuet
  19. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: VII. Badinerie

Disc: 2

  1. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: I. Ouverture
  2. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: II. Bourrée I - II - I
  3. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: III. Gavotte
  4. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: IV. Menuet I - II - I
  5. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: V. Réjouissance


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: BIS
  • ASIN: B000BLI3H0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,464 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Kerry Kaneko on June 17, 2007
Johann Sebastian Bach's four Ouvertures (Orchestral Suites) and six Brandenburg Concertos stand at the pinnacle of Baroque orchestral music. And the Bach Collegium Japan recordings of these masterworks for the BIS label head the field. Under music director and founder Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan captures the grand, regal quality in the Bach Ouvertures as few others have. Of course, there is the famous "Air" ("Air on the G String"), the second movement of the Ouverture III (Suite in D Major, BWV 1068), beautifully performed here. Liliko Maeda plays the transverse flute marvelously on the Ouverture II (Suite in B Minor, BWV 1067), including a virtuosic performance in the seventh and last movement, the popular "Badinerie." And the overall sound quality is superb.
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I bought this SACD by accident... I had a gift certificate that was burning a hole in my pocket. I already owned the suites performed by the Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood, but I had never really gotten into them. I bought this on impulse because it had gotten such good reviews. Well, I wasn't let down. The sound is crystal clear. I've only been listening in stereo for now, but it sounds like I'm sitting right beside everyone. The trumpets are clean and articulate and they resonate so beautifully. The flute soloist is delicate but spot on. The tempos chosen don't let the pieces drag at all, but aren't speedy. Everything is just right about this recording. I'm glad that it is my introduction to Suzuki and the CMJ.
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Bach's four orchestral suites - here called "Overtures" - have faired remarkably well on disc, especially since the advent of the period instrument movement. There are too many fine interpretations of this music - from Parlman, Harnoncourt, Goebel, and Pinnock to name just a few - to state that Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan deliver the last word in this music, but there are several factors that weigh heavily in favor of this spectacular release.

First, this is sonically the best we've heard in this music, both in recorded sound and in playing. Sonically, the performances are crystal clear yet natural, something we've come to expect from BIS. With regards to playing, no one has mastered balance like Suzuki does here. It is a testament to Suzuki's innate sense of texture and clarity that the b-minor suite never sounds like a flute concerto. However, the beautifully toned instrument is always audible against the small, but powerful, mass of strings. At the same time, Suzuki achieves perfection in the two d-major suites, trumpets never soaring over the texture but, rather, sound like and integral - and well balanced - part of the music. That is not to say the music still isn't thrilling, far from it. Part of the utter joy of these performances is brillance of execution shown by the collegium. They not only dispatch Bach's impossibly writing with ease - does the flautist ever take a breath in the b-minor overture (?!) - but they also capture the spirit with elegant flair. The gavotte in the c-major suite sparkles with stately charm, followed by an joyous forlane. The sarabande in the b-minor suite has seldom sounded so touching while the Rejouissance in the second d-major suite is stunning. Special mention must, however, go out to the keyboardist.
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The tyranny of distance holds no sway with these performances. Bach came home with many influences from the French and Italian baroque, well illustrated here - but perhaps Suzuki has come home with the man himself!
Amid the influences of the art of Western Protestantism in his own country, Suzuki traveled and studied in Europe, we are told, then returned to his native land to resume both a practical and academic career. His creations, together with his small but highly skilled band, have provided endless hours of pleasure.
As one gazes upon the beauty of both the music and performance one is aware of a sense of something very new and fresh. I have listened on the radio from time to time to a few of the group's recordings, but only in passing and never to the whole experience as presented here on these discs.
It dawns on one as time passes that these performances are something very special, a true and sensitive blend of the visual and auditory experience. One is reminded of the superlatives that can express the beauty of Eastern art forms, such that have always captured the hearts of the European middle classes from the early days of European contact. And that tradition continues here.
There is an excellent set of notes provided on the music, the orchestra and their leader.
My only regret is that the second disc is so short. Plenty of space here for a filler, and what a gem it could have been!
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