Rinaldo Alessandrini has established himself first and foremost as a masterly interpreter of Italian Early Music - especially so as a Monteverdian. So his forray into the world of German Baroque is a move that was always bound to infuse something fresh and exciting into this repertoire, especially given the heavy Italian influence that the German composers of this time clearly demonstrate. The performances here live up to - and surpass - all expectations. In fact the interpretation here of 'die Kunst der Fuge' (or should I say L'Arte della Fuga!) is perhaps the finest I have heard. The work is mostly performed for a chamber ensemble of Baroque instruments thought some pieces are played for harpsichord alone by Alessandrini. So this recording of Bach's ultimate work - the concluding chapter of his Clavierübungen, and Encyclopedia of Music - is an absolute must for all Bach lovers.
As for the second CD, to have the Keyboard Concertos thrown in, is an embarrassment of riches. The performances have wonderful vigor and zest in abundance. Tempi and phrasing have that rare sense of absolute rightness about them. The recording sound quality both here and in the Kunst der Fuge is well up to the audiophile grade quality that you tend to take granted from Opus 111.—Sator