Alan Curtis is perhaps best known now for his conducting of Baroque operas. In the earlier part of his career though he was a specialist in Baroque harpsichord music, He recorded a set of Francois Couperin's Suites for the Vox label. This performance of the English Suites was issued by Teldec in 1980. Curtis has always shown a gift for lyrical phrasing and he is well suited stylistically to play these fairly early Suites by Bach.
The English Suites of course are not English. Actually they are modeled after the French suites of the day in the inclusion of a prelude as well as the customary dance forms.
The English Suites have a delightful melodic impulse also seen in the early Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother and are not as serious in tone as the later Partitas or even the French Suites. Thus the more serious Leonhardt performance while technically brilliant rather misses the spirit apart from the questionable lack of repeats. Curtis has the measure of these works technically but is not afraid to go with the melodic flow and open up a bit. He is extremely well recorded. The harpsichord has a pleasant full bodied tone, neither boomy or tinkly. Although this issue also includes the French Suites they cannot be recommended due to the lack of repeats. They seem like a tacked on effort to the stellar English Suites. I also recommend the English Suites performed by Christianne Jaccottet. If one is seeking a slightly more reserved performance, then the version by Helmut Walcha should satisfy.
NB: Warner (which inherited various bits and pieces of the former classical labels' catalogs) has reissued Curtis' complete English Suites on 3 separately sold CDs for reasons known only to themselves.