Here’s a peppy, brilliantly lithe audiophile’s set of Bach Ouvertures in wonderfully surrounding sound. Using period instruments, so even the transverse flute (Stefano Bet) sounds in older style, these performances preserve the music’s stately dance and Renaissance character. Diego Fasolis himself realizes the harpsichord part for the B Minor Suite. The Rondeau of the B Minor Suite has rarely so well paid its sonic debts to both Lully and Telemann. Tempos are not particularly slow, as in the famed Air from the D Major Suite. Without repeats, these familiar pieces glide facilely by, leaving a sweet, ephemeral aftertaste. Still there are moments of textural girth, as in the French Ouverture from Suite No. 3, the massive Ouverture to Suite No. 4 in D, and in the aerial Bourree I & II from the B Minor Suite, the second breathless. The Badinerie blows by in the twinkling of an eye. The Forlane from Suite No. 1 moves in hunting-music fashion.
As with the classic Hermann Scherchen renditions, Fasoli has his own ideas about ornaments, sometimes appealing to appoggiaturas, sometimes stretching out the mordants like unrolled licorice. Never does Fasoli forget the spirit of dancing which permeates these delightful works. Beautiful articulation in winds and strings in the Bourree I & II from the D Major, BWV 1069 Suite. The oboes rule in the Ouverture to Suite No. 4, with the trumpets crisply antiphonal in surround definition, the harpsichord (Francesco Cera) in constant, cavorting movement, the tympani (Dieter Seiler) prominent. The twenty assembled players of I Barocchisti create a fine, transparent web for the C Major Suite, BWV 1066, whose clear tapestry reminds me of Joshua Rifkin’s revisionist Bach of the cantatas. Leonardo Dosso’s bassoon chugs along in the midst of the polyphony of the opening Ouverture. Fasoli takes the Courantre at an andantino pace. The sonic separation of the oboes and the harpsichord proves quite effect in surround mode. The Bourrees are pure, foot-tapping hustle, oboes and bassoon in pert harmony in the trio section. Elegantly ceremonial, the D Major Suite combines a richly ornate figuration with the open-air quality of the reduced, original-instrumentation, tympani and rocket strings early providing a noble fabric. The Gavotte is unadorned Lully, here transposed to the Court at Leipzig. Delicacy and breathless dexterity alternate for the Menuets and Rejouissance, concluding a superbly rendered series of Orchestral Suites for the new century.
— Gary Lemco