Phantasm - J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Consort – I - American Record Guide
In his notes, Laurence Dreyfus seems to anticipate the audience's wonder at hearing a viol consort playing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His justification is based in historical precedent, pointing out the kinship between 18th-Century fugues and the viol fantasies of the 16th and 17th Centuries. Bach's chorale preludes are related to cantus-firmus consort pieces like the "in nomine". While all of this may be true, the most compelling reason to play Bach's most densely wrought instrumental music on the viol is because it sounds fresh and appealing. Bach's contrapuntal achievements sparkle in the hands of Phantasm.
The program offers pieces from the Music Offering, choral preludes for Clavierübung III, and Preludes and Fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier. Tempos for the fugues are lively and perfectly managed. The homogenous sound of the viol consort brings continuity to the densely chromatic material in the fugue from Prelude & Fugue in B-flat (WTC 2). The Choral Prelude 'Aus Tiefer Not Schrei Ich Zu Dir' (S 686) has richness that only a viol consort can achieve.