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I'm looking for another ensemble recording of The Art of the Fugue. Preferably something with some winds and not overly string dominated. I came across a great recording like this a few years ago but I've forgotten the ensemble. It had some great sounding bassoons.
There was an orchestral version of the Art of Fugue many years ago by Karl Ristenpart with the Chamber Orchestra of the Saar (Nonesuch Records - OOP, I think) which was pretty good. Just as an aside, the recording of the Brandenburg Concertos by the same orchestra and conductor is still one of best, to my mind. Done with a lot of top-notch soloists.
 

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I suppose I could just say Glenn Gould, but that would be rather boring. So I offer ...
  • Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould (the 1955 mono version, by a hair)
  • the Cantatas, John Eliot Gardiner. Yes, all of them. At the other end of the period instrument spectrum is a wonderful recording of cantata arias for soprano and violin obbligato with Kathleen Battle and Itzhak Perlman with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. (titled simply The Bach Album on DGG)
  • Trio Sonatas, John Butt, organ. But a close second is the E. Power Biggs, pedal-harpsichord, version.
  • the Lute Suites, Julian Bream. Esp. the e minor BWV 996.
  • the Viola da Gamba sonatas, Anner Byslma. on Sony/Vivarte. This recording gets a good deal of negative reviews, but it's a real standout for me. But just listen to the BWV 1029 Vivace. How could you not listen to that on repeat for the rest of your life?
  • a bit of an oddball, but the album of keyboard selections titled Aufs Lautenwerk, with Kim Hendel playing the lute-harpsichord (on Dorian records). Great sound for Bach and really good performance.
The above selections are not meant to be the "best" or exclude the thousands of other absolutely fabulous recordings of Bach's music which have been made. Just a few personal favorites which come to mind but there are many, many more.
 

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The Ristenpart AoF released on LP by Nonesuch has been re-released on CD by Accord, see below..

A few years before the Nonesuch recording, Ristenpart made another - or rather first - recording of the AoF - also with the Chamber Orchestra of the Saar - for Erato featuring among others Helmut Winschermann, Henning Troog and Robert Veyron-Lacroix. This is less romantic in conception than the Nonesuch recording.

Concerning the Brandenburg concerto recording you refer to (Ristenpart's second Brandenburg concertos set) I agree that this is one of the most delightful sets in existence played with modern instruments. It's released in the same Accord CD set.

Bach : Oeuvres pour orchestre : Ristenpart, Karl, Bach, Johann Sebastian: Amazon.fr: CD et Vinyles}
Thanks! Did not know this info. I have the Ristenpart 2nd set of the Brandenburgs on LP. If memory serves, this featured Maurice Andre, trumpet, J-P Rampal, flute, Pierre Pierlot, oboe, and a violinist named Georg Friedrich Hendel (great name for a baroque performer!). Never really heard of him before or since but his performance in this set was very, very good. As to the whole period instrument business, as long as performers play as close to the musical performance standards of the time a piece was written, modern instruments don't bother me at all.
 
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