At Last Bach Really Hits the Spot

Dont know why but I have been having a neurotic, torturous audiophile time lately, not wanting to listen to anything for more than about 15 seconds and feeling like I am sick of everything in my collection.

Fishing around iTunes, I found this:


Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor BMV 1043

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

To me, this is wonderful.

Not too insipid but not too raucous...havent heard it 10 billion times in Starbucks.

Can listen and/or read or drive to work and makes the world a better place.

Can anyone else recommend this or similar, particularly better performances, recordings etc.

Thank you.

I have found the discs listed below to be very nice as well. They are Hybids discs and are available from Tower Records as well as many other places.

Vivaldi: Concertos for the Emperor / Manze, English Concert
Bach: Solo & Double Violin Concertos / Manze, Podger, et al
Vivaldi: Late Violin Concertos / Giuliano Carmignola

I find it interesting that every time I make a real upgrade and not just a different sound presentation, I find myself listening to a lot more Bach.
Along the polite but not boring, lines with a very nice performance and recording, I'd recommend:

1. Rossini's Sonatas for Strings, performed by Camerata Bern on Deutsche Grammophon. Uncharacteristically good recording for DG! (BTW, Rossini composed these sonatas when he was only 12 years old.) I have this on vinyl only, but it was a digital recording and I'd assume it's on CD. These border on Divertimenti-esque, so they could be a little too smooth for you, but they're so well played that I can't imagine you being disappointed.

Another great, somewhat offbeat set of concertos that are highly enjoyable is Vivaldi's Bassoon Concertos played by Michael McCraw on Centaur CD (2001). Beware though - you could develop a bassoon addiction.

Another that might fit the bill, a little more demanding though, is Beethoven's Middle Quartets, performed by the Takacs Quartet on Decca CD's. Certainly can't go wrong owning this one anyway. (2002)
I also recommend the Manze/Podger recording for that concerto.

And I also highly recommend both volumes of the late Vivaldi violin concertos recorded by Carmignola for Sony. Excellent material (including some not previously recorded), performance, and recorded sound. The titles are a bit confusing for these. One is actually called "Late Vivaldi Concertos." Anyway, the numbers are SK 87733 and SK 89362.

Going to back to Germany, try Telemann: Sinfonia Spirituosa (Archiv 471 492-2).
Thanks everyone. BTW, I am always impressed at the speed and clarity of replies to posts in the music section.

Because sometimes audiophiles are assumed to care only about power cord upgrades.

I would be particularly interested in more Bach, but will also give the other suggestions a try.
A few more you may enjoy:

1. Bach: Trio Sonatas, Purcell Quartet, Chandos.
2. Bach: Violin Concertos and Double Concertos, Arthur Grumiaux, Philips.
3. Ignazio Albertini: Sonates Pour Violon & Basse Continue, Helene Schmitt, Alpha.
4. Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Andrew Manze, Harmonia Mundi.
5. Corelli: 12 Concerti Grossi, English Concert/Trevor Pinnock, Archive.
6. Bach: Art of Fugue, Emerson Quartet, Deutsche Grammophone. (A bit heavier than the rest, but glorious!)

You meant you are interested in quality Bach in general. Besides the Manze/Podger disc, consider these excellent recordings:

For the violin sonatas, again look at Carmignola on Sony (SK 89469).

For chamber music (Brandenburg Concertos, etc.), Cafe Zimmermann's three volumes on the French label Alpha (Alpha 013, 048, and 071).

For orchestral music, the recent Pearlman/Boston Baroque Orchestral Suites on Telarc is really solid, and it fits on one disc (CD-80619). (Also SA-CD.)

For intellectually demanding (even by Bach's standards), Concerto Italiano's Keyboard Concertos and their fantastic version of The Art of the Fugue in the Opus 111 "Tete a Tete" 2CD is a great deal (OP 20011).

Don't know if you're also interested in vocal. You must have a Mass in B Minor? I really love the recent "one voice per part" version by Cantus Colln on Harmonia Mundi (901813.14). (Also SA-CD.)
There's so much... Check out his fugues. Many are absolutely amazing, and they revolutionized musical form.
Most of Glenn Gould's recordings are wonderful, especially the early ones. Also check out Wanda Landowska- she is the matriarch of the historical performance movement and recorded some very interesting performances.
Below is a listing of some very nice recordings by Rachel Podger. She plays a baroque violin and is on the channel classics label which are also well engineered recordings.

Another composer which you don't hear much about is Antonio Albinoni, I have his Adagios and they are beautiful.


Rameau: Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts / Pinnock, et al

Format: CD SACD Hybrid (72338519002)

Release Date: Feb 11, 2003
Catalog #: CCSSA 19002
Label: Channel Classics
Spars: DDD
Pieces in Set: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 67 Mins

Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord / Podger

Format: Compact Disc (72338514798)

Release Date: Jan 9, 2001
Catalog #: CCS 14798
Label: Channel Classics
Spars: DDD
Pieces in Set: 2
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 139 Mins

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol 2 / Rachel Podger

Format: Compact Disc (72338514498)

Release Date: Nov 16, 1999
Catalog #: CCS 14498
Label: Channel Classics
Spars: DDD
Pieces in Set: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 66 Mins

Bach: Sonatas & Partitas Vol 1 / Rachel Podger

Format: Compact Disc (72338512198)

Release Date: June 8, 1999
Catalog #: CCS 12198
Label: Channel Classics
Spars: DDD
Pieces in Set: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 76 Mins
I am familiar with just a few of the above. This will be fun to explore.
Bach is one of those composers that you can listen to over and over and wonder why everyone thinks he's so great. But then it clicks and if you can connect, it's usually gives you an experience that no other composer can give you.

Good for you - I hope you find more that will keep you engaged in music.
Also try "The Goldberg Variations".. Glenn Gould seems to be the one I come back to most often. Welcome to the 'Family', Cwlondon :)
Agree with Lousyreeds - While I wouldn't say it's great for listening while driving, Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations (his 1955 debut recording, NOT the 1981 version which I'd avoid) is one of the astonishing Bach performances of all time.
Three more:

The Well Tempered Claveir,Books One and Two. Ralph Kirkpatrich,DG
((Each book includes a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys.))

Musical Offering.((Late in his life,Bach wrote these for Frederick the Great,as an introduction to get his son CPE Bach a job))

***The Brandenburg Concerti. ((Written as an audition of the Margrave of Brandenburg)
Now don't make fun of me - but I like some of the Canadian Brass' stuff and I'd definitely recommend their perfs of both Art of the Fugue and the Goldberg Variations. You wouldn't want them as your primary versions but they are quite refreshing and interesting to hear done in brass after hearing them the "normal" way a zillion times.

You can listen to track samples at Amazon:
With the holidays coming, it seems like the right time to pick up a copy of the Christmas Oratorio. It's a long vocal work, and one of my favorites. There's a version available on SACD, too.
If you find yourself liking the Oratorio, then go on and try the St. John Passion, which might be my very favorite work of J.S. Bach.

Chuck, I ceratinly look into those recommendations.
Here are a few of mine:
Bach violin concertos, Arthur Grumiaux Heinz Holliger Herman Krebbers on Philips 420 700-2 (just beautifull)
J.S. Bach Cello-Suiten Mstislav Rostopovich EMI CLASSICS (WARNING this is closed miked, you will hear nose hair blowing)
Bach Secular Cantatas DOR-90199 (serious fun)
The Rostopovich suggestion reminds me to suggest Bach's solo cello suites by Pierre Fournier on DG in addition, if you can find it. (419 361-2).

For Bach's solo violin sonatas/partitas, those by Milstein, Szeryng, and Grumiaux are all outstanding in their own ways.

All of the above are old recordings, but fairly good sounding re-releases. If shear musicality is your interest, rather than recording technology and historically informed performance standards, you simply can't do better than these old guys. Late night listening, for sure.

Oh, and let me cast my dissenting vote in favor of Glenn Gould's 1981 rendition of the Goldberg Variations, which over the years I have grown to much prefer compared to the famous 1955 recording. But no need to quibble: get them BOTH (and more) on the 3 disc "State of Wonder" release from Sony.

Beautiful Gould quote in the wonderful liner notes: "The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity." Amen. Certainly explains his preference for Bach!