Music Reviews - Bach, Stamitz and Richter on SACD

      Date posted: October 22, 2005

J.S. Bach: The Complete Orchestral Suites
Boston Baroque conducted by Martin Pearlman
Telarc Surround SACD-60519

Bach Orchestral Suites

      This hybrid SACD features lovely playing, with quite brisk tempi throughout, and a lack of the kind of rubato and general tempo variety offered by my favourite interpreters of this music, the Chamber Orchestra of the Saare under Karl Ristenpart. It just seems a little preoccupied

with momentum rather than musicality. But if you don’t know these Suites well, you’ll probably enjoy this recording with its excellent sound quality. The Ristenpart recordings may have been rereleased on CD, but mine are from LP.

      The sound here on SACD with Boston Baroque is somewhat close up, which gives immediacy, but loses depth. It’s a good starter set, but those who love these works may want to look elswhere for another recording in the best recent technology.

Early String Symphonies of Johann Stamitz and
Franz Xaver Richter
The New Dutch Academy, Simon Murphy
Vol. 1 Pentatone 5186 028, Vol. 2 5186 029
Hybrid SACD/CD

      I have always loved the music of the Mannheim school, particularly these two composers, so these discs made me very happy. It’s all such lovely, stately, stylish music that transports the listener into a world that sees the artistic genius of a time and a place where elegance was all.

The New Dutch Academy

      The New Dutch Academy combines a perfect mix of panache and beauty in their playing, and the SACD is extremely well recorded with lots of dynamics and depth, with a lovely church ambience around the players. Both albums were recorded in a church in The Hague. This original instrument ensemble plays with great tunefulness, and the result is a pair of recordings that will remain among my favourites for life. It’s just an aural bath in sheer elegance, supported by wonderfully natural and open sound supporting superb performances.

      And there’s likely to be more coming, in that these two discs are just the start of “The Dutch Academy Mannheim Project”. I very much look forward to more.

Andrew Marshall

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