J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Works for Orchestra

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Karl Ristenpart
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Chamber Orchestra of the Saar
Soloists:Georg-Friedrich Hendel, violin
Hans-Martin Linde (flutes a bec)
Gunter Hoeller (flutes a bec)
Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute
Robert Veyron-Lacroix, harpsichord
Individual Works:Disc 1:

The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
(orchestration by Marcel Bitsch and Claude Pascal)

Disc 2:

Conclusion - The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
(orchestration by Marcel Bitsch and Claude Pascal)

Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066
Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067

Disc 3:

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069
Concerto for 3 Violins in D major, BWV 1064

Disc 4:

Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046
Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049

Disc 5:

Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
Concerto No. 6 in B-flat major, BWV 1051
Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Violin and Strings in A minor, BWV 1044

Disc 6:

Concerto for 2 Harpsichords and Strings in C minor, BWV 1062
Concerto for 3 Harpsichords and Strings in D minor, BWV 1063
Concerto for 3 Harpsichords and Strings in C major, BWV 1064
Concerto for 4 Harpsichords and Strings in A minor, BWV 1065

Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Accord
Catalog Number:465 893-2
Year Released/Recorded:Originally recorded & released: 1960 1965
This re-release: 2000
Total Playing Time:disc 1: 68'21
disc 2: 65'41
disc 3: 60'49
disc 4: 59'07
disc 5: 62'32
disc 6: 65'43
Comments:Review by Jan Hanford:

Performance: outstanding
Recording: very good remastered analog stereo and mono

I have been waiting decades for this recording of the Brandenburg Concertos to be released on cd. Originally released back in the 1960's on Nonesuch on LP and then cassette, they were available on cd from Accord (a French label) for a while in the late 1980's but then went out of print and I was never able to find Volume 2. You can't imagine my excitement when this 6-cd set was released. It is an incredible collection of all Karl Ristenpart's recordings of Bach's orchestral works. One note about the mastering is that the Brandenburgs are in mono. This is confusing because they were in stereo on Nonesuch back in the 1960's. There is no explanation in the notes, perhaps the stereo master tapes were lost. However, great mono is still better than no release at all.

The Brandenburgs exceed my expectations. His interpretation is the best I have ever heard. Everything about them is exactly the way I like to hear the Brandenburg Concertos performed. But I'd be happier if the recording was in stereo.

The orchestration of The Art of Fugue is gorgeous. A stunningly beautiful performance of some of Bach's most complicated music. The orchestration is delightful and adds an amazing amount of emotion to these works while also making the counterpoint more accessible than when played on keyboard.

Needless to say, all the other performances are also on a level of beauty that I feel few orchestras achieve these days. We are now in the age of "look at me" original-instruments performances, that often sacrifice the music to satisfy the ego of the musicians. It is a breath of fresh air to hear older recordings (1960's) like the Karl Ristenpart who play the music in a straight-forward, intelligent, still emotional and yet exciting way.

At last, I am delighted to have this musical treasure back in my collection.

Acknowledgements:From the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:11/18/2000