This is another of Reference Recordings' 'two for the
price of one' bargains, offering a brisk canter through a familiar selection
of eighteenth-century works. It's a pity that the accompanying programme
booklet concentrates on the composers and provides no information about
either of the two ensembles or their approach to the question of authenticity
in regard to performance practice and choice of instruments. Thus two
oboists are listed as members of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, but
their sound is more akin to that of the oboe d'amore. On the other hand,
both ensembles deploy violone rather than double bass, thereby displaying
more than a nod in the direction of authenticity.
There is not a great deal to be said about the performances,
which are uniformly crisp and elegant and well recorded. For me, far
and away the most striking piece is the Bach Double Concerto (incorrectly
described as Bach's only work in this form). The left and right placing
of the soloists is splendidly effective and the slow movement especially
is ravishingly beautiful, if a touch sentimental.
As a representative sample of baroque music, the discs
are to be recommended, even if putting Vivaldi side by side with J.S.
Bach does the former no favours.