Bach’s Orchestral Suites
I’ve only written once about the Orchestral Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach before, in my 25 Essential Classical Albums. In that brief article, I’ve called them the “pop” music of classical. I still stand by this label, but really don’t mean this in any negative way.
One (or at least me) cannot only listen to advanced intellectually challenging music all day long. You sometimes want stuff that is just enjoyable, including some all time favorites.
The Orchestral Suites, or Overtures, are just that. I can probably (badly) whistle every single note of the well known melodies.
I bet you can too, at least for the second movement of BWV1068. No idea what I’m talking about? Does “Air on a g-string” ring a bell? If not, go to 6:59 in the YouTube Clip below, and I’m sure you’ll go “ahh, that one”.
Yes, that one. Played at numerous weddings and other occasions. Do you now get what I mean by “pop” music?
That said, I can listen to this again, again and again.
Zefiro is an Italian baroque ensemble that I must admit I had never heard of before it popped up among in Gramophone´s April 2017 issue as album of the month.
They are lead by oboist Alfredo Bernadini. I had to check out their website to see that they have already done an impressive number of recordings. I´m surprised I´d never conciously seen them mentioned anywhere so far. I really need to check out more of their recordings.
Bach: Overtures – Zefiro (Outthere Music 2017)
I actually was not particularly interested when I skimmed through Gramophone’s April issue about a month ago. So, yet another recording of the Orchestral suites? It took me a while to really take notice, as I was very happy with the Freiburger Barockorchester recording mentioned in my 25 Essential albums.
But thanks to streaming, I figured, let´s give it a try at least. And I´m glad I did. This is not a recording that will kick the Freiburgers off their throne, but is very good on its own rights.
The playing is engaging, passionate, and transparent. On top of this great playing, you get two reconstructed movements that you won´t find anywhere else.
This really is a very enjoyable album throughout and I highly suggest you check it out.
My rating: 4 stars