Over the past 10 years, Café Zimmerman has recorded Bach’s “concertos for multiple instruments” on the Alpha label. These works include the harpsichord concertos, the Brandenburg concertos, the orchestral suites (overtures), as well as the many concertos for violin, oboe, flute or other instruments. Last year, they released this in a 6-CD set: Concerts avec plusieurs instruments.
I hadn’t bought any of the individual volumes of this set previously, but when the box came out, I listened to some samples on line and bought it immediately. The 24 works included – four per disc – are all performed with a wonderful lightness and joy, making these some of the most attractive recordings I know of these works.
Each disc is organized as a concert: rather than grouping, say, all of the Brandenburg concertos on two discs, there is one on each of the six CDs. No disc has two of the same type of work; there are not two orchestral suites or harpsichord concertos on any of the discs. This makes each of the CDs a 60- to 70-minute concert that provides a variety of instrumentations.
The sound is excellent, the performances full of vigor, and, while the tempi are on the fast side, nothing sounds hurried. This is a wonderful set of Bach’s “orchestral” music. If you like Bach, you should check this out.