Palladian Ensemble - Bach - Early Music Review

Before I listened to it, I wasn't sure that I was going to like this recording, which is of mainly well-known music by Bach transcribed and arranged by the Ensemble themselves for the 'wrong' instruments, but I was totally convinced by the lovely performances on this CD. Of course Bach himself frequently reworked his own material and the trio sonata for two flutes which starts the programme later became a gamba sonata, while the Schubler chorales are themselves transcriptions for organ from the Leipzig cantatas.

It's difficult to pick out any particular performance as they are all so attractive but I particularly enjoyed the violin sonata, the only work which is played on the type of instrument for which it was composed, and the Leipzig chorale Allein Gott arranged as a recorder and violin trio sonata. The organ sonatas, transposed from the original keys, make excellent trio sonatas, and in fact the first movement of BWV528 was arranged by Bach from a trio sonata movement for oboe d'amore. gamba and continuo in Cantata 76. The performers make a lovely sound, and the use of archlute or baroque guitar as continuo instrument makes it easy to hear them all.

The order of the tracks on the CD has obviously been thought about very carefully, so that there are no uncomfortable key changes and a reasonable silence is left between one piece and the next. The booklet notes give some information about the music, although I would have liked more. The recording itself is exceptionally clear and well balanced. This is a Super Audio CD which can store six times more data than a normal CD and means that those who have the right equipment can hear the sound in more detail, but even on a normal CD player the sound seems extremely good, with each instrument clearly heard to the best effect. Perfect music for Easter, or indeed any other time.

Early Music Review
01 April 2006