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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750)
Orchestral Suite No.3 in D major BWV1068 (1723)
Orchestral Suite No.4 in D major BWV1069 (1725)
Suite in G minor BWV1070, now attributed to W. F. Bach.
Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard/Jean-François Paillard.
recorded in 1962 – no further details given. ADD
WARNER APEX 2564 61686-2 [59’36"]

This is Volume two. Suites 1 and 2 have already been issued on this label, and I welcomed them warmly when they arrived. I am happy to repeat the welcome, now that Volume 2 is available. This time the playing time has been filled out (although only slightly) by a further orchestral suite thought to be written by W.F. Bach (Friedeman 1710 - 1784). These were issued before the period performance brigade got under way in earnest, and so, although there are lively tempi and bright woodwind parts, they are still with modern instruments, recorded in a very clear ambient acoustic.

Although the notes are quite good, there is no information about recording dates or location. However some of the soloists are in fact mentioned. Maurice André, Marcel Lagore and Jacques Mas (trumpets) Pierre Pierlot and Claude Maisonneuve in Suites 3 and 4, joined by Lucien Debray in Suite No. 4 (oboes), and Paul Hongne, Suite No. 4 (bassoon).

This was originally an Erato release, although first issued in the U.K. on World Record Club. Any recording of these works can be easily ruined by slow and ponderous playing; we certainly do not have that here. They are full of life, and I enjoyed them immensely.

Suite No. 3 is written for three trumpets, two oboes, drums, strings and basso continuo. This one contains the famous Air in G, played completely straight and so much better for that. It is in six movements, Overture, Air, Gavotte I and II, Bourrée and Gigue. Suite No. 4 is the festive suite of the four and is written for three trumpets, three oboes, two flutes, drums, strings, bassoon continuo and organ, although in this performance, like most others, the organ is excluded. This sequence of movements is Overture, Bourrées I and II, Gavotte, Menuets I and II followed by an exhilarating Rejouissance.

The spurious Suite, now attributed to W, F Bach, was also included on the World Record Club issue. It is for strings alone, and it is immediately apparent that the level of inspiration is of a much lower level than the other works on this disc. Still it is good to have and the movements here are Overture, Torneo, Aria, Menuet and Capriccio. This is for strings alone.

When the first disc in this set was issued, I said that I hoped that Apex would issue a second volume to allow these performances to be enjoyed in total. Well here it is and Apex are to be congratulated. I recommend this release wholeheartedly, unless you are from the brigade who insist on the full 80 odd minutes of playing time. This second disc is not so bad in this respect as the first one contained only the first two suites. At this price, you can’t go wrong.

John Phillips


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