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Format:Audio CD|Amazon Verified Purchase
Sigi Kuijken's "Petite Bande" has been around for forty years now, but though it still contains one or two old stagers besides Sigi himself, it is today predominantly a young group, and well up to the highest standards of contemporary HIP performance - indeed, in my view, it sets those standards. Its playing is not so immediately attention-grabbing as, say, Giovanni Antonini's "Gardinio Armonico" but that is because it eschews the ear-ticking but entirely anachronistic tricks such bands use - the express-train speeds, the bass-heavy strumming continuo, the magic stardust of close-miked harps and theorbos. What we get instead is simply excellent musicianship - perfect tuning and ensemble, a lively sense of rhythm, and a strong sense of both understanding and taking pleasure in the music they play.
This recording comes three years after the group's ground-breaking recording of the "Brandenburgs" and uses some of the same innovations. Here we still get un-tampered-with natural trumpets, and a bass line manned by "basses de violon" rather than cellos, giving a strong bass at 8' pitch - Kuijken reckons 16' instruments only came into use in such music later on. There isn't a theorbo in sight. The violin lines are doubled, as befits this (for Bach) rather conventional orchestral music.
The third and fourth suites, with trumpets and drums, make their usual striking effect - the "Air on a G string" is performed with affection - but the real heart of the disc is the B minor flute suite, particularly the famous "Badinerie", here played by Sigi's brother Barthold - not at the frantic tempo flautists often try, but simply at a good lively pace, with plenty of rhythmic bounce. He and the Band let Bach speak, giving much pleasure in the process. Read more ›
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