Complete Orchestral Suites
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There is no dearth of recordings of the Bach Orchestral Suites, but this new one goes right to the top of the list of recommended performances. Pearlman and his Boston Baroque play on period instruments but there is never any stridency in the strings, none of the odd pressured quality that can creep into "historically informed" readings. The 3rd and 4th suites, the most heavily scored, are given truly rousing readings, with the trumpets and timpani making a joyful noise and the oboes and bassoon audible and very welcome in the mix---the recording is well-balanced. The first suite has prominent wind parts as well, and Pearlman weaves them in and out of the orchestral fiber effectively, as the music indicates. The tricky Suite No. 2 is often presented as a type of flute concerto, but Pearlman has the solo flute backed up by multiple strings in the grander passages and reduces them to solos when the flute has its own melodic line. And most importantly, he realizes that the movements of all the suites are dances, and so the music, in its own, French Baroque way, swings. The recording is as fine as the performances, which is to say, remarkable. --Robert Levine
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Under Amazon’s section titled Product Details, it reads: “Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD”
The disc that I received from Amazon merchant goHastings, titled “JS Bach, The Complete Orchestral Suites”, Telarc CD-80619, is a CD – not an SACD.
• The disc and printed materials are labeled with the trademark: “Compact Disc Digital Audio”. Nowhere do I find the SACD logo.
• The front panel of my Oppo BDP-105 universal player displays “CD”. (An SACD would display “SACD”.)
• When the disc is playing, the video display shows: “CDDA” (Compact Disc Digital Audio), “44.1k 16b” – i.e., the specs for a Red Book (i.e., standard) CD – not an SACD.
The printed materials state “This Compact Disc was produced from Direct Stream Digital masters made during the recording sessions”, and the DSD logo appears. Perhaps this is the source of the confusion.
Another reviewer has stated that both CD and Hybrid SACD versions of this recording were produced – which I cannot verify.
I’m not saying that the audio quality of this CD is bad. My complaint is that the product that I received is not an SACD as advertised.
About this Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD), it is what is called a `hybrid' disc, meaning it has two layers, a standard compact disc layer compatible with all compact disc players, and a high-definition layer recorded in DSD and playable only on a SACD player. The DSD layer has two copies of the same program, one in high-definition, two channel stereo for listening over headphones or on a standard stereo system, and a second, high-definition, multichannel copy for playing on a surround-sound system. Thus, you get a total of three separate copies of the same program, which one you listen to depends on the system you are playing it on.
This recording is also available on standard compact disc for about $4.00 less, but I recommend buying this SACD version. Even if you don't have a SACD player yet, you probably will own one in the near future since many new compact disc players and DVD players will play SACDs.