- Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066
- Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
- Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
- Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069
There are two big selling points for this recording of Bach's four extant orchestral suites, or overtures, as the composer preferred to call them. First, three of the works are presented in reconstructions that attempt to re-create the original versions. The music is essentially the same, but scored differently: there are no trumpets and drums in the third and fourth suites and no solo flute in the second. Second, all four suites are contained on a single, 74-minute disc, an achievement made possible primarily due to quicker tempos. There are other good reasons to try these recordings, primarily the quality of the performances. Monica Huggett, a superlative period instrument violinist, leads her ensemble Sonnerie in beautifully polished accounts full of life and joy. Her textures are clear, so that every line of counterpoint can be heard, and the playing is so enthusiastic that every line sounds like a melody. Her tempos are a bit on the fast side but the articulation is so clean that this sounds wholly natural. And her control is complete, so that everything is exactly where it should be, but the expressivity is so compelling that everything sounds fresh and new. Recorded in big, warm sound by Avie, this disc deserves to be heard by any admirer of Bach's music.