JS BACH Orchestral Suites and Concertos
Borrowing, adapting, transcribing: Bach was a master at this game. So why would he, who borrowed from others and from himself, not wink approvingly at the work of Jörg Jacobi and Werner Breig? The opening work, BWV822, sets an example. Not by Bach it would seem, but thought to be conceived by Bach for harpsichord from an orchestral work by someone else. Backgrounds to every piece are explained in the booklet-note.
Intrepid arrangements and doubtless good intentions are subverted by a recording that crowds the performers into a confined area. Movements such as the Overture and Bourrée of BWV822 or the Bourrées of BWV1006 and BWV1067a emerge aggressive, while the introductions to the Overtures BWV820 and BWV1067a are of a metronomic stiffness, all probably accentuated by cramped space, congested sound and, worst of all, filtered harmonics. A prominent harpsichord can irritate too. But not in the first movement of BWV1006, originally the E major Partita for solo violin, its introductory Prelude arranged for organ by Bach (and for piano by Rachmaninov and Wilhelm Kempff) as the festive Sinfonia to Cantata No 29. Harpsichordist Veronika Brass is artistic in this movement, yet unyielding and monotonous in approach to the two Minuets, in a six-movement work now adeptly transcribed and transposed as the Partita in D for harpsichord and strings. Many another movement is considerately performed but the bugbear of a claustrophobic acoustic negates best efforts.