For some insane reason, I've ended up with three complete sets of cantatas - the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt and Suzuki are the others - and this one is my favorite. Not as well executed and pristine as the Suzuki, but better than the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt and without the boy sopranos, this set has a sense of energy and occasion that the others lack. This is the one for me.
Whilst I have the Suzuki collection and thoroughly enjoy that, this collection well worth exploring for its different and direct approach. Some tempi are faster and I feel Gardiner is more ridged where Suzuki has a softer more subtle approach. I'd still listen to both having either way, it is all glorious music.
I'm really pleased to have received this so quickly. I think 8 days from the UK to Australia must be some kind of record! I've heard many of the recordings on ABC radio on Sunday mornings and find the live performance recordings have an energy and immediacy that studio recordings don't always have, although I do have a soft spot for the Nikolaus Harnoncourt recordings, some of which I still have on vinyl. While I was reading Gardiner's Music in the Castle of Heaven last year I wished I could hear the cantatas as I was reading his comments. Having this set will enable me to do this next year as a first project when I have retired from full time work. I'm certainly looking forward to it!
I was disappointed in that the introductory notes on the accompanying CDR were smaller than I could read on my screen and printed at the midpoint of my 8.5 x 11 sheet. It may just be that I need more technical help on my end. Otherwise, I am delighted. Had previously acquired "Castle of Heaven" & the Stokes set of translations. Both are worth the investment to me.