Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Absolutely wonderful value
on 27 December 2012
I have been given this collection as a (carefully 'steered') gift. At any price it would be a musical goldmine: at Amazon's price, it is astounding value. This review has to be based on what I have had time to listen to so far, but I have no reason to believe that the rest will not be as rewarding, and I am so thrilled that I cannot restrain myself from passing my pleasure on. I am quite picky about my recordings, and these seem to be right up there with those I already have of some of Bach's music. Highlights of my listening so far include a particularly joyous performance, with superb soloists, of the Weihnachtsoratorium, which will be part of my personal celebrations of Christmas in the years to come. I particularly look forward to getting further into the cantata performances: of those I have heard already, I agree with another reviewer that they have a lack of 'pomposity' (not quite the right word) in which respect they compare well with more prestigious recordings.
Like another reviewer, I have already become a fan of Ruth Holton (soprano) in Bach's cantatas. We have become too used to fruity, rounded female voices for solo singing (presumably the way they are trained for most of the music they will be called upon to sing). We need to remember that Bach used (perforce) boys - trebles - for 'soprano' parts (the boys' voices in the Holland Boys' Choir are most welcome in this respect), and Ms Holton's voice must sound very like (the best of) the treble soloists in the choir of St Thomas's Leipzig in Bach's time. I love it.
I have one gripe about this collection (but am not therefore going to take a star off). The blurb does not guarantee period instruments throughout, but this is achieved - bar three CDs! Surely they could have found P I performances for these as well? This may not matter to many people, but it does to me. Fortunately the discs in question (orchestral suites, and concertos including THE double violin and THE oboe and violin) use a frequently-used-by-other-labels grouping of the works in question which makes it easy for me to 'replace' them, albeit at relatively huge cost compared with the AMAZING value of this edition as a whole.