Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos
CRISP, freshly thought and very carefully realised without loss of apparent spontaneity - that's my take on the brand-new Linn recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos from John Butt and the Dunedin Consort, their first all-instrumental recording for the label. There are some distinctive qualities that characterise Butt's interpretation, not least his pacing of the opening movement of the first Concerto, a real big-band baroque piece with massive textures. Butt, uniquely in my Brandenburg collection, actually sets a moderate pace, which means that the usual rammy at the start is cleared (it often sounds like a jam session in an asylum) and you can actually hear the parts. And did I detect a hint of bendy-note recorder playing in Brandenburg Four? As for that lunatic harpsichord cadenza in the Fifth, I won't say that Butt has tamed it (that would spoil the fun), but the Wild Thing of Baroque music is better behaved and more lucid than usual. Good luck to them in a crowded market.