I'm not quite sure exactly what it is that some reviewers dislike so much about this album. No, it is not "Switched On Bach." Would it have been worth recording if it were identical to the album Carlos did 25 years earlier? Times change, artists mature, and technology marches on.
The principle change -- aside from the switch to digital synthesis -- is Carlos's use of "authentic" tunings popular in Bach's time. The result is that the music does sound different -- less bright, more subdued, with richer harmonies. It doesn't sound the way we are used to hearing it, but most of what we hear now is based on contemporary performance practice. If anything, the works on this album probably sound more like they did in Bach's day. Alright, synthesizers didn't exist back then, but neither did a number of modern instruments that Bach's music is routinely played on today.
The performances are still good -- in fact, probably better than those on the original album. Modern technology allows a musician to "clean up" errors and improve raw performances in ways that simply weren't possible back in 1968. There's no tuning drift, no tape hiss, no extraneous 60Hz line noise, and no performance errors.
This album doesn't deserve the low marks some reviewers have been giving it. If it suffers in comparison with the original "Switched On Bach," it only suffers because it *is* different. Again, what's the point of doing exactly the same thing 25 years later? If you are after the original experience, then the recently issued "Switched On Boxed Set" is what you want. Still, this CD does make an interesting comparison and companion piece. The music is well done, and certainly doesn't deserve the bashing it's gotten here.