Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750)
Orchestral Suite No.1 in C major BWV1066 (1724)
Orchestral Suite No.2 in B minor BWV1067 (1738)
Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard/Jean-François Paillard.
recorded in 1963 – no further details given. ADD
WARNER APEX 2564 61257-2 [45’33"]



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This issue has pleased me immensely despite the measly playing time afforded this budget-priced issue. I used to own a vinyl copy of this recording on a World Record Club release, issued with the other two well-known suites and Suite No. 5 (the latter of doubtful provenance). Paillard re-recorded these works, but I believe these to be from the earlier set; here at last for us to enjoy. It was wonderful to make my reacquaintance with these recordings. Although the notes are quite good, there is no information about recording dates or location, nor are the soloists mentioned. I believe that this was originally an Erato release.

Any recording of these works can be easily ruined by slow and ponderous playing and we certainly do not have that here. These recordings were issued before the period performance brigade got under way in earnest. Although there are lively tempi and bright woodwind parts, they are performed with modern instruments and are recorded in a very clear ambient acoustic. The readings are full of life; I enjoyed them immensely.

Suite No. 1 is written for two oboes, bassoon, strings and basso continuo. It is, along with No. 2, one of the most reticent of the four suites and is in seven movements, Overture, Courant, Gavotte, Forlane, Menuet, Bourrée and Passepied. This sequence of Overture and a number of dances was used extensively by a number of early composers such as Lully, Kusser, Muffat and J.C.F. Fischer. This suite format was known as the ‘French Suite’ although many such suites were composed by German composers. This was because the concept of the suite was developed in Paris as a sequence of ballet pieces. Although composed throughout Europe by many composers, it is the Suite sequence by J.S. Bach which has become the most popular and most frequently performed. They are not as formally written as the Brandenburg concerti but nevertheless have maintained their position in the catalogue and have a large number of competitive versions.

The soloists here are not mentioned by name; I suspect that they are the principals of the Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra. They play extremely well and the First Suite is certainly alive and accurately pitched. Paillard, when he re-recorded these works later, lost some of the vivacity.

When we move on to the Second Suite, we are on more familiar ground. There is a fiendishly difficult solo flute part, with strings and basso continuo. It is a pity that Apex do not identify the soloist as he or she is extremely competent and can be enjoyed for his/her work with the remainder of the orchestra. This time, there is again the Overture, but the dances are different. We have Rondeau, Sarabande, Bourrée, Polonaise and Double, Menuet and Badinerie, the last often played by flautists as a solo encore when in concert. The last movement can also be repeated in performance as an encore; such is its popularity. Bach plus Paillard really stretch the soloist to the extreme, and the current artist does not fail in the least.

Apex are to be congratulated on this release which I can recommend wholeheartedly, unless you are from the brigade who insist on the full 80 odd minutes of playing time. I sincerely hope that they have the second disc in the pipeline with suites 3, 4, and 5. I for one will certainly be purchasing it if and when it is released.

John Phillips



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