Now that Jordi Savall has successfully negotiated the reissue rights to releases he and his various family members and bands made for the long-gone (and much missed, in some quarters) Astrée label (as in here, Brandenburg Concerti 1-6
), several interesting recordings are seeing the light of day again. Chief among them is this terrific set of "Brandenburgs" that lopes along in it's happy way - the set has been lovingly remastered and the set comes, beautifully packaged, as always with Alia Vox, on two hybrid SACDs. I do have a two-channel SACD player and I do think that the higher resolution layer brings an improvement to the sound, but the music sounds pretty good on my other CD player, too.
At the time this recording was made (in 1991), Le Concert des Nations comprised lots of musicians who were well-known and/or about to become well-known. Aside from Savall, we have Fabio Biondi, Pierre and Marc Hantaļ and Bruno Cocset, to name but a few. All those years ago, the band really hit a nice "groove", and an old "Penguin Guide" was quite enthusiastic:-
"Savall's period-instrument set of the "Brandenburgs" is engagingly fresh. Textures are clear and often translucent, allegros are spirited but never rushed, tempi are well judged (No.3 is just right) and slow movements are warmly expressive yet perfect in style. There is some breathtaking bravura from the hand horns in No.1, especially in the closing "Polacca & Trio", but Friedmann Immer's slightly throttled trumpet sounds in No.2 are less appealing. At other times, ensemble and intonation are not without flaw, but there is no edginess from the strings, and the spontaneous vitality of this playing carries the day. Not a first choice but an enjoyable one when the sound is so pleasing."
Along with Parrott (here, Brandenburg Concerti 1-6
), the OAE (here Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
), Tafelmusik (here, Brandenburg Concertos
) and the Scottish Ensemble (here, Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos
), this Alia Vox set is brilliant (and reminds us just how many good recordings were made in the late 1980s and early 1990s of the "Brandenburgs").