1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good transcriptions, slightly mannered performances,
This review is from: French & English Suites (Audio CD)
This is a good disc, but I do have some reservations about it. The pieces are largely transcriptions for recorder, lute and viola da gamba of keyboard works by Bach. It's an idea I like very much - Bach's music often lends itself very well to transcription and Bach himself was an inveterate transcriber and recycler, so it is in the composer's own idiom. I also like the combination of instruments; it's an atmospheric and rich sound which goes very well with the music chosen here.
Bach's music is, of course, wonderful and in these transcriptions I was expecting something really special. I'm afraid I didn't quite get it. I think the reason is that I often (but not always) find the performances a little on the mannered side. Stefan Temmingh and his fellow musicians are plainly very good, but both the recorder playing and the viola da gamba too often seem a little stiff to me, while the lute's very free rhythmic approach (especially in the solo Prelude from a lute suite) strays out of what makes sense for Bach.
I am comparing these performances with those I have by real geniuses of these instruments like Pamela Thorby, Nigel North and Suzanne Heinrich (among others) and it may be unfair to criticise too sternly. It's certainly an enjoyable programme, and a project which deserves credit. It has some really fine moments - the closing two movements of the Second English Suite, for example - but overall it just lacks a little something for me. It's well worth hearing, though, and my reservations are very personal, so if you have an interest in Bach I'd suggest you try it and make up your own mind.