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
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
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.