I have all six Brandenburg Concertos, numerous Orchestral Suites, some Harpsichord Concertos, and the B Minor Mass, all played by various early music ensembles. All of it is terrific. And none of it even approaches the level of interpretation, the exquisite sensitivity of these performances of these works. This CD is so wonderful, so incredibly woven together in all its diverse elements, that I have a hard time determining whether it is great because these works are superior to the other works in my Bach collection, or whether it is due to Gardiner's attention to detail and emotive quality.
These works instantly shot up to the top of my list of favorite choral/orchestral compositions after purchasing this CD. The continuo instruments tread softly throughout the singing, which is light, airy, and in complete synchronicity with the instrumentalists. The balance between the choral sections and the soloists is virtually unparalleled by any recordings of any other works from any other composers in my collection. The high point of the entire CD is Katharine Fuge's aria "Wie Zittern und Wanken," from "Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht." Just listen to the gentle interplay of the solo oboe and Fuge's delicate soaring above the repeating chords of the strings.
Gardiner has recorded many of Bach's Cantatas. They will shortly be in my collection. They should also be in yours.