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Complete Orchestral Suites Hybrid SACD - DSD

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, April 27, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: Ouverture
  2. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: Gavotte
  3. Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069: Menuet 1 & 2
  4. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Ouverture
  5. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Courante
  6. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Gavotte 1 & 2
  7. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Forlane
  8. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Menuet 1 & 2
  9. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Bourrée 1 & 2
  10. Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066: Passepied 1 & 2
  11. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Ouverture
  12. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air
  13. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Gavotte 1 & 2
  14. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Gigue
  15. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Ouverture
  16. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Rondeau
  17. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Sarabande
  18. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Polonaise, Double
  19. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Menuet
  20. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Badinerie


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 27, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B0001XAJUM
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,002 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. E. Scholl on July 30, 2004
This is an incredible recording of Bach's Orchestral Suite. It was recorded in high-resolution Direct Stream Digital (DSD) format. The recording is crystal clear, the different tonalities of the various instruments are clearly heard and the sound stage is rock solid. The performance is one of the best I have listened to. Even though the Boston Baroque uses period instruments, none of the strident, edgy sound which period instruments usually produce is noticeable here. In other words, this is a lush recording that every lover of Bach's music simply must have!

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.
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The Bach suites for orchestra never sounded so good. The moment I got this in the mail, I plopped it into my computer at work. Even with those small speakers, let alone on my stereo at home, the sound in this set is as glorious as the performance. Whether or not you have a super audio CD player, don't hesitate: I have both and this sounds so fine on an ordinary CD player it is worth the expense. The strings are lush, the flute silvery and crisp, yet rounded and not whistle-like, as Galway's can be. The effect is to clarify the sound almost to a dramatic extent. Pearlman is also thoughtful and talented. His period ensemble is strong and, as the other reviewer has noted, not subject to many of the infirmities that can plague ancient music recordings. It also is not mannered in the way some performances are; though there is a little latitude with tempi, some of which are a bit faster, others a little slower, it is not to the point that it is annoying or seems to have been done for its own sake. I admit, I did have a problem with the brisk tempi of portions of Suite No. 2, which seemed to overtax the flute: you can hear him take a breath and pause very briefly. My sister is a professional flautist, so growing up I became very familiar with how that sounds. It is a bit distracting. The suites are arranged on one CD, with Suite No. 4 first, then Nos. 1, 3 and 2. To those of us who may be accustomed to listening to these in a particular order, the rearrangment enhances the fresh quality of the recording. I have enjoyed the versions by Ristenpart with Maurice Andre on the trumpet and Roger Bourdin on the flute, and of Menuhin and the Bath Festival Orchestra (which comes with an excellent rendering of the Musical Offering), but with the foregoing reservations, this is my favorite: engaging and fresh Bach. I recommend it highly.
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I disagree with the 5 star ratings given for this disc. Performances are generally rather rushed and all the overtures truncated. Playing is acceptable though I was not inspired by the flautist in Suite 2. The trouble is ultimately this disc is neither particularly exciting nor played with real feeling ( if Baroque music can be !). Perfunctory is one word which comes to mind. Chopping great lumps off the overtures might improve the balance of the suites given most other movements are short but that does not really work either.Of course that is how 4 suites get on one disc. I played Musica Antiqua Koln's versions after and these are clearly better considered and are my personal versions of choice. Vastly superior although on 2 discs.
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Amazon’s title for this recording is “Complete Orchestral Suites [Hybrid SACD - DSD]”

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.

Buyer beware.
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