Published a century after his death, the set of six Concerti Grossi that comprise Bach's Brandenburg Concertos show the composer at his prodigally inventive and sublimely accomplished best, serving up a veritable feast of entrancing melody, vivid colour and instrumental virtuosity. It's hard to imagine them being more sympathetically performed than here. Set down in London and Paris in 2009, this is a relatively recent offering from the English Baroque Soloists, a period-instrument group founded in 1978 by John Eliot Gardiner. Gardiner takes somewhat of a back seat here, leaving the musicians to self-direct four of the six works. A genuine tonic it is: not only does the playing combine vitality, grace and precision (there are star turns from the ensembles regular cohort, not least leader Katie Debretzeni) but Gardiner masterminds proceedings with unforced freshness, personable warmth and winning flair.
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