This three-disc set of Bach concerto reconstructions summons memories that now seem ancient of Max Pommer and his New Bach Collegium Musicum, a modern-instrument ensemble he founded in 1978 to promote the music of the Baroque. By that time, the period-instrument movement was well under way, with the groundbreaking recordings of Bach’s cantatas led by Harnoncourt and Leonhardt already harbingers of things to come. My memories, it turns out, are not quite as ancient as I thought they were, for these Phoenix Edition recordings, which originally appeared on the Capriccio label, were made in 1986.
One could base an entire monograph on the provenance of these concerto reconstructions, arguing for or against their legitimacy. But these recordings are not for those who are hung up on how a number of these patchwork concoctions came to be, or who are particularly concerned about matters of historical authenticity. Rather, they are for those who just love the sound of Bach’s music…Pommer and his Leipzig band bring to Bach’s music a wonderful blend of high spirits and a feeling of ennoblement. Soloists include Karl Suske, first chair violin of Berlin’s Suske Quartet and one-time concertmaster of the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra; Burkhard Glaetzner, one-time first oboist of the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Ludwig Güttler, one-time first trumpeter with the Dresden Philharmonia. They join with a number of other fine musicians in music-making of the highest caliber to bring you many hours of unalloyed pleasure…Jerry Dubins