The Dunedin Consort has often been lauded for its fresh, transparent textures and beautifully proportioned and balanced sound, and following critical acclaim for Baroque vocal releases such as Bach: Matthew Passion,Handel: Messiah (Dublin Version, 1742) and most recently Bach: John Passion, they've produced what's to be hoped is a curtain-raiser to more recordings of the orchestral works.
In the booklet notes John Butt observes that though the six concertos are highly structured, they are, paradoxically 'among the most carefree, joyous and spontaneous works that Bach ever produced'. Butt is able to create broad washes of colour which, combined with an energy generated from within the textural detail, drives the music onward with an effortlessness and inevitability. This fluidity is striking, possibly because many recent recordings of late have instead focused on producing a more rustic and even jagged sound. The flowing elegance here seems to bring out the French influence, and indeed the temperament which the ensemble have adopted is that of the French Court at the time, the low A-392. This in itself has a knock-on effect in slightly slowing the pace and thereby increasing the articulation of the instruments. It also adds a wonderfully warm glow.
The idea of the opposing forces of 'disputation' and 'agreement' within the form of the concerto seem to have been a consideration in this recording, and certainly Butt could be said to to have achieved a truly euphonious result. The instrumental colours of the soloists in the Dunedin Consort are beguiling, at times dazzling, but always as part of the larger picture. Altogether the impression is of a fresh insight into works which we all thought we knew so well.